Following on the heels of Amazon’s announced plans to introduce integrated Fire TV-Edition televisions from manufacturing partners in various parts of the United Kingdom and Europe, Roku used the IFA 2019 technology show in Berlin, Germany Saturday to reveal that it is further expanding the popular Roku TV licensing program into Europe.

The move marks the next major expansion of the Roku TV OS program outside of the United States and Canada, where Roku TVs under various brand partners including TCL, Hisense, Hitachi and others, have risen to become a top-selling smart TV platform.

Next, Roku said, China-based TV maker Hisense is set to become the first European Roku TV partner after it launches Roku TV models ranging up to 65-inches in the United Kingdom during the fourth quarter of 2019.

Hisense Roku TVs will combine Roku’s easy-to-use operating system found in its streaming media adapters, including thousands of streaming channels, with Hisense’s picture and screen technologies, the companies said. The Hisense Roku TV sets will deliver up to 4K Ultra HD resolution along with the enhanced detail and contrast levels of high dynamic range (HDR).

Roku said other TV manufacturers can now license Roku TV reference designs and use the Roku OS to quickly build world-class smart TVs for distribution in Europe.

Roku TV was first introduced at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. Since then more than 100 models have been made available from more than 10 brands in North America. TCL, which exclusively sells Roku TVs in the United States, has risen to the second-ranked TV brand in the region in recent quarters. Hisense also has been very successful with the Roku TV platform in the region.

“Roku estimates that in the first half of 2019 more than one-in-three smart TVs sold in the U.S. were Roku TVs, making the Roku OS the No. 1 selling smart TV OS in the U.S.,” the company said in its statement.

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“While consumers love Roku TV’s simplicity and advance features, TV manufacturers benefit from the low manufacturing cost, a variety of technology options, and support from Roku. The ability to quickly bring to market a leading smart TV experience that is regularly updated by Roku and is packed with entertainment gives TV manufacturers an edge in the competitive TV business,” stated Roku CEO and Founder Anthony Wood. “We are pleased to bring the Roku TV licensing program to Europe and look forward to the first Hisense Roku TVs in market this year.”

Like Roku streaming players, Roku TVs have full access to the Roku Channel Store offering access to 150,000 movies and TV shows as well as live sports news, music, kids, food, science, tech, fitness, foreign language and other programming. Many of movies and programs on the Roku Channel are ad supported and subscription free.

Roku TVs can be controlled with either an included simple TV remote or with the Roku mobile app for Android and iOS devices. With the Roku mobile app consumers can stream entertainment to their Roku TV, use their voice to search for movies and TV shows, and enjoy private listening of TV audio with headphones.

Roku TVs are designed to be affordably priced, while offering excellent picture and sound quality. Roku manages the entire software ecosystem for all Roku TVs, including securing and updating streaming channels and providing frequent software updates to deliver new features and experience enhancements.

Roku said Hisense will announce more details and pricing on its European Roku TV models later this year.

By Greg Tarr

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