CORONA, CALIF. — Prospective cordcutters’ TV choices expanded greatly in May, with the number of Roku-ready TVs upped by more than a dozen.
New models debuted from TCL and Sharp, and Best Buy is set to begin offering its Roku TV under its private-label Insignia brand this month in stores and on its website. By incorporating the Roku OS smart-TV platform, these TVs access all of Roku’s streaming audio and video services, which consist of more than 2,000 streaming channels, including Sling TV and WatchESPN.
The Roku TV platform is also promoted as simplifying content selection by putting all video sources — TV, Roku streaming services, and connected sources such as game consoles — on a homescreen UI. Furthermore, the TVs, which have built-in Wi-Fi, can display video, pictures and audio sent wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet running a Roku app.
All of the TVs also carry the Netflix Recommended TV designation, indicating they meet select performance criteria and have undergone an evaluation program.
Criteria for the program includes the following: instant-on capability to display apps, including a prominently displayed Netflix app, as soon as the TV is turned on; a dedicated Netflix button on the TV’s remote; the latest version of Netflix; and fast app launch, resume and playback start.
TCL now offers 10 LCD TVs with the Roku OS as it began shipping seven new models this months.
The new models appear in the 3800 Design and top-end 3850 Decorator series, both of which will be available this month in-store and online at major retailers nationwide. They’ll join three lower-priced 3700-series models available since March.
The TCL Roku TV 3800 series consists of the 32-inch 32S3800 at $229, 40-inch 40FS3800 at $339, and 50-inch 50FS3800 at $479, all with 1080p FullHD resolution and 120Hz refresh rates on all models that are 40 inches and larger. A 48-inch model previously planned is not included. The 3800-series TVs come with a quad pedestal stand.
The top-end 3850 series features four models: the 32-inch 32S3850 at $249, 40-inch 40FS3850 at w$359, the 50-inch 50FS3850 at $529, and the 55-inch 55FS3850 at $699. The 3850 series adds a metallic gunmetal finish and all-aluminum quad pedestal stand.
The currently available 3700 series consists of three models from 32 to 55 inches, with the 32-inch model sporting 720p resolution and 60Hz refresh and the other two stepping up to Full- HD and 120Hz refresh rates.
Sharp’s 43-inch LED TV will carry a $379 suggested retail, while the 50- inch LED TV will be priced at $499. Features include 1080p FullHD resolution and a 60Hz native refresh rate. They’ll also be available in Best Buy Canada.
They will be available soon exclusively at Best Buy stores in the U.S. and Canada and on BestBuy.com
Meanwhile, Best Buy, which previously signed onto the program, also announced plans to offer its first Roku TVs this month in its Insignia house brand.
Two Roku TVs bearing the Insignia brand will be available this month exclusively in U.S. and Canada Best Buy stores and on BestBuy.com. They consist of a 32-inch LED TV and 55-inch LED TV at $229 and $549, respectively. They will also feature 1080p FullHD resolution and 60Hz refresh rates.
Haier and Hisense have also said they plan to offer Roku TVs, but more details weren’t available at this time.