Roku formally announced that its first own-branded Roku TVs will go on sale exclusively at Best Buy stores and on starting today.

As announced at CES 2023 in January, the smart TV company is offering 11 models of high value-added Roku TV smart TVs in two series — the entry Roku Select Series of HD, Full HD and 4K UHD TVs and the premium Roku Plus Series of 4K QLED TVs in the 55- ($649.99), 65- ($799.99) and 75-inch ($1,199.99) screen sizes.

The Select Series models will feature 24- ($149.99), 32- ($199.99), 40- ($279.99), 43- ($39.99), 50- ($379.99), 55- ($429.99). 65- ($599.99) and 75-inch ($799.99) screen sizes.

All Select Series models will have direct-lit LED backlights and 60 Hz native refresh rate LCD panels. Models 43-inches and larger will have 4K UHD resolution, with smaller models having either 720p HD or Full HD 1080p resolution. 4K Select Series models will support the HDR10, hybrid log-gamma (HLG) and HDR10+ high dynamic range (HDR) formats.

A Roku Plus Series Roku TV with Roku Sound Bar.

The step-up Roku TV Plus series models will all feature 4K UHD resolution and quantum dot wide color gamut enhancement (QLED), high dynamic range support for the HDR10, HLG, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision HDR profiles, full-array LED backlighting with local dimming, 60 Hz native refresh rate LCD panels, and the Roku Voice Remote Pro remote control with private listening, remote-finder alarm and built-in rechargeable batteries.

Plus series models will also have four built-in HDMI inputs and include enhanced built-in on-board dual-speaker sound with Dolby Atmos sound-stage expansion.

The full-array LED backlight system with local dimming in all Roku Plus Series models, enables more pop to picture brightness, detail, color and contrast, the company said. Local dimming allows for more vivid highlights and deeper dark details with realistic depth cues and contrast, the company said. The Plus series will also feature automatic brightness adjustment functionality using new algorithms to automatically set the picture brightness that best matches the light level in the viewing room without the need to go into manual picture settings.

Roku said its Plus Series televisions also will be the first televisions with Roku TV to integrate Bluetooth private listening. This means viewers will be able to pair Bluetooth headphones right to the television and listen to a program in private without disturbing anyone else in the house or the room. A new auto speech clarity function also helps to further keep dialog clearly understandable without the need to turn up the volume.

For streaming, the series includes WiFi 6.0 to help viewers get to their shows quickly and easily from channels “that launch in a snap.”

Plus Series Roku TVs will also support Roku’s Voice Remote Pro remote control, with hands-free voice capability to help find content with spoken search commands.

Both the Plus and Select Series models also will also have the ability to connect to Roku’s aftermarket soundbars, wireless smart speakers and wireless subwoofer, for even more expansive sound.

All of the Roku TVs will, of course, feature the Roku smart TV operating system and streaming experiences, including support for Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant voice control and smart home capability.

In tandem with the new Roku-branded product launch, the company said the latest version of the Roku OS (v.12) will roll out to all Roku users’ products in the coming weeks, with additional updates — including new supported channel partners, content expansion, and updates to the mobile Roku app.

In announcing the new models, Roku executives reiterated disclosures from the company’s recent 2022 financial reports that the Roku continues to build one of the most popular smart TV streaming services in the world. The Roku following last year reached 70 million active global Roku user accounts, which amassed more than 23.9 billion hours of streaming in the fourth quarter of 2022 and 87.4 billion hours total for all of 2022, up 19% YoY.

The Roku OS was the No. 1 selling smart TV OS in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Additionally, the company’s Roku Channel Free Ad Support TV (FAST) streaming service available on Roku devices and partner smart TVs and adapters reached an estimated 100 million people in U.S. households in Q4-2022.

The Roku Channel was the No. 1 FAST service by reach and engagement on the Roku platform in the United States, and is now a top five channel by both reach and streaming engagement on the Roku platform.

According to NPD, more than one-in-three televisions sold in the United States today is driven by the Roku TV operating system. Roku’s U.S. active account base has now surpassed the number of traditional pay-TV subscribers, the company said.

Chris Larson, Roku retail strategy VP, said making the TV experience simple is Roku’s No. 1 goal.

“This effort brings our content, our operating system, and our hardware all together under this one roof. So, with Roku branded TVs, we have the choice to develop features, functionality, and other technologies traditionally reserved for premium televisions, and offer them at much more affordable prices,” he said. “We learned a lot over the years, both by creating the Roku Ultra, our premium player, and developing our award winning wireless audio devices, designing and optimizing TVs for our Roku TV partners.”

“We’ve really become known globally as a leader in picture quality, in hardware design, audio UI, and much, much more,” he continued. “We’ve built world class audio and picture testing labs, both here in the U.S. and in Denmark, to test and to optimize our televisions. We have close relationships with the content creators and the distributors. We do that to ensure the best possible experience transitioning that studio shot footage right into our customers living rooms.”

Roku also makes a family of smart home electronic products that are supported through the TV app to engage activities like checking out a noise on the back porch using a wirelessly connected Roku home camera.

The remote offered in the new Plus Series Roku TVs also includes an alarm signal to help to easily locate the unit when it’s lost in the seat cushions, while the newly added private listening feature in the hand unit allows connecting wired headphones to listen to a program’s sound quietly. It also features an integrated rechargeable lithium ion battery to save on battery replacement.

The remote control’s shortcut buttons, help to get right to a favorite channel or program quickly with a button press.

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Preston Smalley, Roku Viewer Product VP, said the new OS 12 software update that will be rolled out automatically to customers over the coming months will be expanding and refining the platform features offered across the new live TV sports experience, the Roku mobile app, content discovery, and other functions.

Smalley said Roku research found that 64% of all streamers watch live TV content and 59% of those streamers watch local news specifically.

“And so providing users with an enjoyable live TV experience has become a really high priority for our teams,” Smalley said. “That’s why this year we added the Live TV Zone as a home screen menu item over on the left side of the screen. And we also introduced categories into our Live TV Channel Guide that offer instant access to over 350 linear TV channels across a variety of genres. Today, we’re introducing an all new local news destination where you can watch live local news that is personalized based on your location and help tune into stations from across the country. Plus, we’re really excited that this offering and the news recommendations are actually going to be powered by AI, making them smarter than ever before and really ensuring that the experience you get is curated for your location and interests.

“So to access the feature, Roku users can just search using their Roku remote or the Roku search, and they can just visit the Live TV Zone there on the left side of the screen within their Roku home screen menu,” Smalley continued. “We’re also enhancing the live TV streaming experience by introducing premium subscriptions as just another category over in the Live TV Channel Guide.”

Other new content discovery additions highlight sports streaming, he said. The Roku Sports Experience is aiming to help viewers quickly get to the sports news and events they’re looking for. In the interface, Roku is presenting a variety of viewing options based on viewer’s subscriptions, to get the most out of what they’ve paid for.

Roku is introducing a new golf zone that will feature upcoming live golf tournaments as well as some coverage of soccer related content. The service is also expanding the amount of Spanish language coverage of sporting events. In addition, CBS Sports, NIBtv, the NBA app, NBC Sports, and other channels are joining the growing list of supported partners that will get deep links to games and action.

In coming months, Smalley said Roku is going to be introducing more personalized content recommendations curated based on the sports fans interest, using data on what the user tuned into in the past as well as the viewer’s location to get to favorite teams fast.

Roku also announced new supported channel partners, including Discovery Plus, Prime Video and BET. Friendly TV and Stars also will be joining the Roku Partners list soon, he said.

The Roku Mobile App is also getting an update that elevates the user’s visual experience. This will include immediately showing personal content and account information in one place.

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By Greg Tarr

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