Streaming stick giant Roku has partnered with Hisense to bring the first Roku-powered TVs to the UK market, the company announced at IFA in Berlin this morning. Roku is best known in the UK for manufacturing streaming sticks and boxes – devices you plug into any TV to let you stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime,
Streaming stick giant Roku has partnered with Hisense to bring the first Roku-powered TVs to the UK market, the company announced at IFA in Berlin this morning.
Roku is best known in the UK for manufacturing streaming sticks and boxes – devices you plug into any TV to let you stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more. Since 2014 the company has also licensed its software to TV manufacturers to bake directly into the hardware however, and this Hisense partnership marks the first time any of those TVs will make it outside of North America.
Hisense and Roku wouldn’t go into specifics about models, sizes, or feature sets just yet, but you can expect ‘multiple models and prices’ when the TVs launch this autumn – and Roku sees this as only the start of a more ambitious move outside the North American market, where it currently provides the software for a third of every smart TV sold.
Along with TCL, Hisense was one of the first two manufacturers to launch Roku-enabled TVs back in 2014, though there are now 11 separate brands that make TVs running the Roku OS.
The company is bullish about the benefits of a Roku TV – not only does it save manufacturers from worrying about the software side of things, but allows regular updates with new features, interface tweaks, and new content – including to add news channels such as the upcoming launches of Apple TV+ and Disney+.
The company says that even its first wave of 2014 TV sets are still getting software updates, something not many manufacturers could say about their in-house OSes.
It helps that if you’ve ever used a Roku streaming device, things will seem familiar – the operating system is fundamentally the same across all Roku devices, though naturally TVs get a few extra features like input controls and picture quality settings. You can even use the Roku app on your phone to control it all when you lose remote behind the sofa cushions.
Besides its TVs, Roku still manufactures a range of plug-in streaming sticks and set-top boxes for people who don’t yet have a smart TV – or just don’t have one running Roku.