Roku TV Streams into Sharp TVs

7 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Coming Soon: Sharp TVs With a Roku Box Baked Right In.

The appeal of such a smart TV is that you can access Roku’s popular streaming service without having to connect a standalone set-top box or streaming stick—everything is built into the television. You plug in a cheap box or dongle, adding thousands of streaming channels to an old set—in a way that’s generally better than most smart TVs out there. Both feature 1080p full HD resolution, a 60Hz native refresh rate, and the Netflix Recommended TV designation, indicating that they offer easy access to Internet TV services.

Users can personalize the Roku TV screen with icons for their favorite streaming channels, and devices such as game consoles, cable boxes, and Blu-ray players. Roku’s first branded televisions came from two large Chinese TV makers, Hisense and TCL, with another Chinese partner Haier subsequently added to the mix.

Chinese TV giants TCL and Hisense were the first two companies to offer “Roku TVs” last year, aiming at making an introductory splash in the U.S. market. They also feature the Roku Feed, which will tell you when movies you’re interested in are available to stream. “We are pleased to offer Sharp smart TVs that run the Roku OS and provide customers with an easy and elegant way to enjoy their entertainment,” Vishnu Rao, director of technology planning for Sharp Electronics, said in a statement. “We believe the benefits of the Roku platform combined with the superiority of the Sharp brand makes an appealing combination for consumers looking for a great smart TV experience.” Besides its new collaboration with Sharp, Roku also today announced that two new Insignia Roku TV models first unveiled back at CES will be available this month at Best Buy. The Roku TVs come with a customizable home screen with access to more than 2000 streaming channels, along with your cable box, Blu-ray player or game console.

But the search giant can also take over your TV with the Google Chromecast , a streaming dongle that tops Amazon’s own Fire TV Stick on the company’s list of best-selling electronic devices. Part of its appeal lies in its pure portability, but there’s also the price: just $35 to wirelessly stream Netflix, Spotify, HBO GO, Hulu Plus, and more from your mobile device or PC to the TV. Roku’s Smith says there are no plans for Roku’s ecosystem to become Sharp’s smart platform across the board; for now, it’ll only be available on those two affordable sets. Google announced a few updates for Chromecast at Google I/O last year—from Android mirroring to options that will make your Chromecast screen more aesthetically pleasing.

On the low end, great deals on 1080p TVs abound; manufacturers are shifting their R&D focus to 4K, high dynamic range (HDR) video, and color-enhancing technology such as quantum dot. Sets with those features now comprise the mid- to high-end of each major company’s lineups, meaning you can get a solid large-screen HDTV for less than $1,000. Ironically, given Roku’s concentration on 1080p resolution and the bargain side of the market, what Ultra HD really needs is a cheap-and-easy, smart-platform-independent 4K box like the Roku to help speed adoption.

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