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January 3, 2024
Roku has introduced a family of "Pro Series" TVs, a move that signals the streaming company's push into more expensive, premium TVs and places it in closer competition with companies like Samsung and LG Electronics.
Roku's announcement, made the week before this year's CES gadget fest in Las Vegas, comes about a year after Roku asserted more control of its product roadmap by taking over the design and engineering of its smart TV products. The introduction of the new series also arrives a decade after the company launched its original Roku TV program at CES.
Roku will start out with a set of Pro Series models – 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch – that will initially be available in the US this spring. All the models will support a 4K-capable QLED display, mini-LED backlighting (to improve contrast) and a new "modern" design that enables the TVs to rest flat against the wall.
Roku didn't announce specific pricing for all of its new Pro Series models but said retail prices will start at under $1,500. The company added that it has developed an optional mount for the Pro Series models.
By comparison, existing models such as a 65-inch "Plus" series TV currently sell for about $650 at Best Buy. A TCL-made 65-inch Roku TV sells for just $399.99.
'Smart Picture' uses AI
Roku's new smart TV lineup will also feature a range of "Smart Picture" capabilities that use AI, machine learning and data from partners to automatically adjust and optimize the picture, Roku said.
Roku's new, more polished wave of Pro Series TVs complement its family of Roku Select and Plus Series TVs. The company's other product lines will also get the Smart Picture features this spring.
In addition to competing more directly with LG (webOS) and Samsung (Tizen), Roku battles for market share with other companies that have developed operating systems and streaming platforms for connected TVs, including Google/Android TV, Amazon/Fire TV and Xumo, the Comcast-Charter national streaming joint venture. Following an initial launch in parts of Europe, TiVo is expected to introduce a lineup of smart TVs powered by its operating system in North America sometime later this year.
Roku aims to boost revenue from devices and platforms with the Pro Series launch. The company posted $125.2 million in revenue from devices in Q3 2023, up 33% year-over-year. Its platforms unit, which includes OS licensing and subscription and ad revenues, pulled down Q3 revenues of $786.8 million, up 18% versus the year-ago period.
Senior Editor, Light Reading
Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.
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