Roku Is Making an Actual TV

Illustration for article titled Roku Is Making an Actual TV

You love your Roku but you hate your smart TV? All your dreams might soon come true, because Roku is putting its technology inside of an actual television set, available this fall.

The TVs themselves will be manufactured by TCL and Hisense, but inside they'll be all Roku Player. Meaning, these TVs will offer up the same experience you've come to know and love from a Roku box (like instant updates, the ability to connect with your Time Warner Cable accounts, all kinds of apps), rolled into a a flatscreen setup.

This is a smart place for Roku to elbow its way into, especially considering most smart TV interfaces are a pain to navigate, whereas Roku Player is simple and headache-free. Roku hasn't given us a ton of specifics here, but we know there will be six models ranging in size from 32- to 55-inches. Prices are TBD, but Roku told us they'll be "comparable" with competitors' offerings. Regardless, this is something we're excited to see first-hand.

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Brent Rose

So, here's the thing. I agree that the UI on virtually every "smart" TV sucks very much, but I've been using a Roku player (the original, and now the XD 2, or whatever it's called) for years... and it kinda sucks, too. No, it doesn't suck as much as most smart tv setups, but it still crashes/freezes on me all the time, navigating around the UI is still very slow and cumbersome, and whenever you have to enter text (into a search field) it takes FOREVER. So I kind of feel like we're replacing something that sucks a lot with something that just doesn't suck quite as much, which I can't really get that excited about.

I have to say, I've been using Chromecast for months now and it really blows my Roku out of the water. It's not perfect, and there aren't enough apps for it yet, but in terms of UI, navigation, speed, and especially text input, it's like night and day. I can't see built-in Roku being a big-draw feature for many people, especially when they're so cheap already. If you really love Roku then you probably don't mind sacrificing one HDMI port to it. Just sayin'.