Gadgets for humans

Set-top box maker Roku announces its first smart TV, coming to stores this fall


Roku, the company behind a series of streaming TV, film, music and gaming boxes, has now stepped into the smart TV space.

It announced the Roku TV today, which is touted as being much more straightforward than other smart TVs on the market — as the company which built itself on streaming devices brings all these technologies together into just one (huge) gadget, eliminating the need for any dongles.

Instead of several layers and menus, the Roku TV gets a home screen that brings together all sources of content. It will only have 20 remote-controlled buttons — that’s half the number that traditional TVs have. Furthermore, the Roku TV can be controlled via mobile devices by using the Roku iOS or Android app.

Just like Roku streaming players, users of the Roku TV will get full access to the Roku Channel Store with more than 31,000 movies and 1,200 channels.

The company has partnered with TCL and Hisense first to roll out the Roku TV, and the models will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show later tonight. Roku has plans to license its design platform and software stack to manufacturers, so they can build and distribute Roku TV models. The first Roku TV models ranging from 32 to 55 inches will be available in major retail stores starting this fall.

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Published January 6, 2014 — 05:48 UTC