updated 11:44 am EST, Mon January 6, 2014
TCL, Hisense to manufacture TVs with Roku-driven smart functionality
Roku is expanding its reach from Internet-connected set-top boxes into smart televisions. The Roku TV, developed in partnership with television manufacturers TCL and Hisense, will provide all the functionality of its existing streaming video devices but built into the television itself, with the first units set to reach customers and retailers sometime this fall.
Hisense Roku TV
Details of the television hardware itself have yet to be revealed by the company, but a blog post states that a range of models will be available, from 32-inch versions up to 55-inch sets. The remote control will apparently have just 20 buttons, half the number of traditional TVs, as part of the company's attempts to remove "all the complicated layers and menus, and unnecessary features and settings that plague smart TVs today," though mobile apps will be available for navigation via smartphone or tablet. The same selection of 1,200 channels seen on Roku devices will be available on the Roku TV, and supplied images show it will still interface with other set-top devices, such as cable boxes and game consoles, and display normal television broadcasts.
Within the same post, the company revealed it has sold just under 8 million Roku players in America, and that the total streaming hours on Roku players grew by 70 percent in 2013, to 1.7 billion hours.