TV news doesn’t get much bigger than a brand-new competitor entering the manufacturing fray. And to do so with a splash if the TVs we saw at an early December sneak preview are indeed the ones that hit retail shelves.
Roku’s TV exhibited impressive picture quality, especially for a brand-new product line. Alas, we’re not sure which companies Roku is utilizing for production. We asked and were supplied with a suitably vague response. Roku is good at that.
There are 11 models in Roku’s lineup, coming in a variety of sizes starting at a budget-friendly $119 for a 24-inch, 720p model and peaking at $999 for a top-of-the-line 75-inch 4K UHD display. Those are great prices for the quality we witnessed. More granular pricing had not been provided at the time of this writing; however we do know there will be two lines–Select and Plus–with the latter having more advanced features, such as full array local dimming.
Roku also touted its first OLED reference design during the December event. It’s a design spec that is provided to makers of third-party Roku TVs with the intent of assuring top quality in production. Here again, Roku was a bit vague as to the specifics of that reference design, but we were impressed by the work done in the company’s labs; particularly its jealousy-inducing auto-tuning app that takes seconds to accomplish what calibration tweakers sometimes spend all day at.
The new Roky TVs, like all TVs sporting the Roku interface/operating system, will be limited to Roku-branded wireless audio equipment. The company’s stuff sounds very good, but is proprietary. The TVs of course feature eARC and auxiliary analog output, but Bluetooth output is only available from the Roku phone app. There will be a new soundbar for the series which sounded impressively clear at the sneak peek.
The only other TV-related news was the company’s commitment to further developing and producing its own content. With the amount of dreck emanating from Hollywood these days, we look forward to more light-hearted movies such as Roku’s Weird: The Al Jankovic Story.