For years now, there's been a rumor that Apple would finally ditch its set top box Apple TV and just make an actual television. After all these years, we're still no closer to finally seeing such a device. You'd think it might just be impossible to transition from a set top box to an actual television, but Roku is proving that notion wrong at CES.
Roku announced this morning that it will be bringing its own television to CES in the form of the Roku TV. Now, it won't actually be making its own televisions, but rather it will be partnering with TV manufacturers to pre-load televisions with its smart TV software.
Since all the major TV manufacturers already have their own smart TV platforms, Roku has had to team up with some of the lesser known manufacturers to get the Roku TV out on the market. TCL, which Roku claims is the third largest TV manufacturer in the world, is the first partner and will be selling Roku TVs later this fall. Hisense, another small Chinese TV manufacturer, has also signed up to offer Roku TVs later this year.
“Consumers will enjoy the ease and satisfaction of Roku TV while manufacturers leverage our design specifications, content relationships and software expertise. At the same time the content community will gain additional distribution and revenues through an already popular and trusted streaming platform – now in the TV,” said Roku Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood. “I’m very excited about our partnerships with TV manufacturers and the first Roku TV models planned for release this fall from TCL and Hisense.”
Roku TVs will be available in sizes from 32 to 55 inches. There's no word on pricing yet, but they will be available in both the U.S. and Canada in the fall.
It's certainly an interesting concept, and one that Google has already exploited for its own Google TV software. With Roku TV, Roku will be able to get into more homes through those that upgrade to larger televisions through cheaper manufacturers like TCL and Hisense. As the year goes on, Roku will most likely snag even more partners to expand the reach of its platforms.
Image via Roku/Business Wire