In recent years, I have enjoyed simplicity in my home. Long gone are the days of owning stacks of CDs and DVDs. Instead, like many people, I have embraced streaming audio and video. Not only is it convenient, but it helps to prevent clutter. A tiny box can be placed next to your TV, which can deliver thousands of hours of entertainment. However, which one do you choose? Apple TV? Fire TV? Roku?
Ah, Roku. Something about that box's UI and remote make it a dream to use. It is not much bigger than a hockey puck, but I guess for some, even that is too big. Well today, the Roku goes invisible - how's that for small? Don't worry, magic is not involved and technically it isn't invisible. Actually, it is being hidden inside the TV, yet it is so much more. Yes, with Roku TV, an embedded Roku is finally a reality and you can pre-order it today.
"Just like our Roku players, Roku TV offers an exceptional streaming experience filled with endless entertainment choices. But we didn’t just stick a Roku player inside the TV. We enhanced the Roku operating system to power the entire TV experience. That means we've applied our philosophy of simple and powerful across the entire TV - from the home screen to the remote control to picture settings. Combining the Roku OS with our partners expertise in TV hardware design, manufacturing and scale, we're thrilled to deliver the best Smart TV in the market", says Anthony Wood, CEO of Roku.
Wood further explains, "consumers will love the personalised home screen which places their favourite entertainment options like the cable TV box, game console and streaming channels front and centre. There's no more flipping through inputs or wading through complicated menus to select entertainment".
Roku touts the following features:
- A personalised home screen with quick access to entertainment favourites
- Simple remote control - we removed half the buttons of a traditional TV remote, including the input button
- Endless entertainment with more than 1,700 streaming channels - that's 200,000 movies and TV episodes plus hundreds of choices for fitness, sports, news, kids, music and much more
- Roku Search for finding more entertainment across the top 13 streaming channels
- Integration with mobile devices through the free Roku mobile app for iOS, Android and Windows
- Frequent software updates from Roku so the TV is always fresh with new streaming channels and features
- An amazing overall value - starting as low as $229 (£137) for the 32in
Whoa, whoa, whoa, stop the clock! A 32-inch TV with integrated Roku for £137? Sold! Before you get too excited, please know this is not Sony, LG or Samsung. Who are the manufacturers? Hisense and TCL. Never heard of them? That's OK, I'm not surprised. However, in-the-know bargain shoppers will be familiar with these budget brands, and believe it or not, quality can be very good. For the cost-conscious, these Roku TVs may be a steal.
What really impresses me however, is that the Roku experience will be present in all facets of the interface. Even if you go into the boring settings to adjust brightness or contrast, the experience should feel the same. Continuity in design is very important, as it can make a user more comfortable. Hell, a remote without input buttons? My grandma would love it.
Starting today, you can pre-order the TCL models on Amazon, but you must wait some weeks to buy Hisense. Will you buy it? Tell me in the comments.