Boxes Shmoxes: Roku's Making Smart TVs Now

Roku has made a name for itself with its demure streaming players, but the company is evolving its product offerings from those little boxes to actual TVs. The Roku TV, like the streaming boxes, will give users access to the Roku Channel Store and its cadre of 31,000 movies and 1,200 channels, and users will be able to control it with iOS and Android devices with the Roku app.

“Roku TV removes all of the complicated layers and menus, and unnecessary features and settings that plague smart TVs today, and instead provides a Roku home screen that brings together all content sources,” wrote the company in a blog post.

Roku TV
Roku TV

Roku is working with “top global TV manufacturers” including TCL and Hiusense to build TV sets ranging from 32 to 55 inches. The TVs will be available at major retailers this fall along with the streaming players that Roku has already been selling.

This is a big, bold move to say the least. The media content market is a competitive one, and competing with the Netflixes, Hulus, et al of the world with a $100 streaming box is one thing, but it’s quite another to take on smart TV makers like LG and Samsung. TV hardware is a totally different beast, and persuading consumers to drop $1,000 on a TV is a tough sell when you’re a newcomer.

We’ll find out how ready the market is for a Roku TV this fall.