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Roku begins selling smart home products at Walmart

Roku has confirmed reports that it will start selling a line of smart home devices at Walmart retail stores later this month.

The initial line of Roku smart home devices are available to buy immediately at the Walmart website, and will be sold exclusively at Walmart’s brick-and-mortar stores starting October 17. The smart home gadgets include:

Walmart has been a preferred Roku partner for years, with the retailer offering exclusive special edition (SE) versions of Roku’s streaming devices around the holiday shopping season. These devices have been priced well-below other Roku streamers on the market, sometimes for as little as $15.

“At Walmart, we are dedicated to providing our customers with technology to simplify and enhance their lives at everyday low prices,” Laura Rush, an executive in charge of seasonal items, toys and electronics at Walmart, said in a statement. “Roku’s new line of Smart Home devices, available exclusively in-store at Walmart, allows our customers to easily enjoy the security and convenience afforded by these new products from Roku.”

Roku says its line of smart home gadgets will integrate natively with streaming devices and TV sets that use the Roku operating system. Roku streamers can use their voice-powered remote controls to turn on or off lights, or drop in on video feeds provided by surveillance and doorbell cameras.

The devices will use secure technology, including data encryption, and will be supported over time by free software updates.

“We’re expanding the Roku ecosystem for the tens of millions of households who already use Roku devices – or anyone looking for a new option to level-up their spaces with smart lighting, cameras and more,” Mark Robins, the vice president of Roku, said in a statement. “With our new line of Roku smart home products, we are proud to offer the convenience and delight of the smart home, combined with the value, choice, and ease of use that consumers love from the Roku brand.”

The company’s announcement came one day after a Walmart shopper noticed Roku LED light strips for sale. The shopper posted an image of their find to the social media website Reddit, which spurred several news reports on the topic.

The devices appear to be white-label versions of electronics manufactured in China and sold under the Wyze brand. Customs records reviewed by The Desk showed some Roku-branded light bulbs arrived at the Port of Oakland late last month.

Roku is one of the more-dominant streaming television platforms in the United States, with around one-third of streaming consumers using some flavor of Roku’s operating system. Globally, more than 63 million streaming households use a Roku-powered streaming device or television set, according to the company’s most-recent quarterly earnings report.

Roku has two big reasons for wanting to enter the smart home market: Google and Amazon. Both companies offer their own line of streaming media players that are integrated with smart home products. Amazon Fire TV users, for instance, can view live video from their Ring doorbell cameras, or use their Alexa-powered voice remotes to control smart lights, window openers and other items that are compatible with the smart assistant.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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