Sharp Embraces Roku TV With New Smart Sets

7 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

The companies on Wednesday announced they are teaming up to offer two new Sharp-branded smart TV sets, which will run the Roku operating system. Best Buy and Sharp Electronics have launched Roku-powered HDTVs, providing another outlet for Netflix and other Internet-video services to get a foothold in America’s living rooms.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.Roku TV, which manufactures televisions and technology to turn regular TVs into Smart TVs, has announced a partnership with Japanese electronics giant, Sharp.

Sharp’s Roku-based 1080p HDTVs, in 43- and 50-inch models — priced at $380 and $500, respectively — will be available via Best Buy stores and online. 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. At the 2015 International CES, Roku said it planned to deliver 4K Ultra HD television sets with partners in the future, but has yet to disclose additional details. 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. 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.

Consumers will get their very own Roku remote, while the home screen will be powered by Roku’s own operating system (OS), showing all devices connected to the Smart TV. 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. Sharp manufactures and sells high-end sets, showcasing large screen 4K models (as well as some with exceeding 4K) at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). 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.

But the models packing Roku and its streaming capabilities will target the more affordable end of the market, with 1080p panels considered good enough for the public. 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.

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