By Sahil Patel
Roku has signed more manufacturing partners to build Roku TV sets.
The company, which to date has offered connected set-top devices that offer access to more than 2,000 streaming apps, wants to embed its platform directly into TVs. At CES 2014, the company announced deals with TCL and Hisense to create Roku-powered TV sets. Now, Haier and Best Buy’s Insignia brand have agreed to release Roku TV models in 2015.
Per the deal with Haier America, the manufacturer will make new Haier Roku TV models available for purchase in Q3 2015. The models will be available in sizes ranging from 32 inches to 65 inches.
In addition to the Roku TV models, Haier has also agreed to release a series of “Roku Ready TVs,” which are regular, non-connected HD TV sets that come paired with the Roku Streaming Stick.
Insignia, meanwhile, will make its Roku TV models available in Best Buy stores (and BestBuy.com) this spring.
TCL will also release 12 new Roku TV models in the first half of 2014, the company said.
All models will come equipped with the full Roku TV experience, which includes an operating system that offers easy access to Roku’s library of streaming apps as well as gaming consoles, cable boxes, and/or Blu-ray players hooked up to the TV set.
In addition to all of this, Roku sees the oncoming growth of 4K technology, which delivers video at a resolution four times that of regular HD. With that in mind, the company has announced plans to support 4K Ultra HD streaming for future Roku TV models. Specifically, its prepared a reference design for 4K smart TVs that it will license to manufacturing partners. TCL is on board as an initial partner to build 4K Roku TVs.
Roku will also work with Netflix to stream the service’s content in 4K. Last year, Netflix made some of its original series available in 4K for those who had the ability to stream at such a high quality. Now, as prices are expected to drop with new 4K TV models, the companies want to ensure 4K is available to their streaming customers.
“As one of the first streaming services to offer 4K Ultra HD content to our customers, it’s important for Netflix to work closely with partners like Roku to give consumers more streaming options,” said Neil Hunt, chief product officer of Netflix, in a statement. “We look forward to bringing Netflix 4K Ultra HD content to Roku customers.”