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Best Buy starts selling Roku-built TV sets

The TV sets cost as little as $150 and come bundled with a voice-powered remote control.

The TV sets cost as little as $150 and come bundled with a voice-powered remote control.

Electronics retail giant Best Buy is now offering Roku-built smart television sets for sale, according to a review of the company’s website.

The launch comes less than two months after Roku announced it would start making its own smart TVs after years of allowing third-party TV manufacturers to license the Roku operating system.

The Roku Select and Roku Plus line of smart TV sets range in size from 24 inches to 75 inches (screen sizes are measured diagonally), with shoppers forking over between $150 and $1,200 for a Roku-branded TV set.

The Roku Select line is expected to be Roku’s budget series of TV sets. It offers a typical liquid crystal display (LCD) with direct backlighting, which should offer uniform brightness from corner to corner.

The 24-inch, 32-inch and 40-inch model Roku Select TVs offer high definition video, while the other models ranging from 43 inches to 75 inches are capable of displaying ultra-high definition (UHD/4K) video. All Roku Select TVs come with a voice-enhanced remote control, and some models are compatible with HDR 10+, which offers improved color and contrast on supported streaming apps.

The Roku Plus model kicks things up a notch, albeit for slightly more money. All Roku Plus models offer quantum dot technology, better known as QLED, which results in stunningly vibrant color and contrast compared to typical LCD models. The smallest Roku Plus model is 55-inches, perfect for a living room or dedicated game room.

All Roku Plus TVs come with the Roku Voice Pro remote, a rechargeable, voice-enhanced remote that includes a headphone jack, a remote finder button and private shortcut keys that can be programmed to perform various functions (like launching streaming services or tuning to live TV channels). Roku Plus TV screens use local-array dimming, which helps lower the contrast during dark scenes, as well as Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technology.

Pricing for the Roku Select and Roku Plus models are below…

Like Roku’s line of streaming TV gadgets, Roku’s smart TVs are powered by Roku OS, which supports thousands of streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Peacock, Paramount Plus, Philo, YouTube, YouTube TV, Fubo TV, Vidgo and more.

“These Roku-branded TVs will not only complement the current lineup of partner-branded Roku TV models, but also allow us to enable future smart TV innovations,” Mustafa Ozgen, the president of devices at Roku, said in a press release issued in January.

Since the announcement, analysts have scrutinized the decision, suggesting Roku would be in competition with third parties like TCL and Hisense who have offered Roku-powered TVs of their own for years.

Roku executives have shrugged off this criticism, saying the company will learn a lot from better understanding the integration of hardware and software by building its own line of TV sets. The innovation learned from that strategy will eventually benefit third party companies who still license Roku OS, they affirm.

The new line of Roku-branded TV sets are only available at Best Buy stores and through the Best Buy website, and will start shipping later this week. Roku is expected to start selling the TV sets through their own website at a later date, but so far, the company hasn’t said when this will happen.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).