Roku makes some of the most popular boxes that you can plug into a TV to stream content from Netflix, HBO, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and hundreds of other internet services.
Now you don’t need a separate box anymore… provided one of the new TVs that has Roku software pre-loaded.
Plenty of other TVs ship with smart TV software. Samsung has its own platform (and plans to move to a Tizen-based software solution soon), LG uses webOS, and Google’s Android TV will be included on products from a number of companies this fall.
But Roku makes some of the easiest-to-use smart TV software and supports hundreds of “channels” of content including sports, music, news, TV and movies, and much more.
On the other hand… I’m not really sold on the idea of buying a TV based on the software it runs. A good TV can spend a decade or longer in your house… and smart TV software available in 10 years may not be able to run on hardware released today. It’s a lot easier to upgrade to a new Roku box (or Apple TV, Chromecast, or whatever) than to replace your 50-inch TV.
Still, I suppose you could buy a Roku TV today and turn it into a dumb screen in a few years by plugging in a next-gen Roku (or other) box.
TCL’s 32 inch, 720p Roku TV will sell for $229. The company also has 40 inch, 48 inch, and 55 inch models with 1080p displays. The largest, mostexpensive model is priced at $649.
Hisense will offer 40, 48, 50, and 55 inch models with prices to be set by retailers.