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Roku unveils smart TVs but no UK launch yet

TV streaming platform Roku has announced the availability of two smart TVs running on its platform – but only if you’re in the USA.

The company says it’s been working with a few TV manufacturers, including Hisense and TCL, but hasn’t revealed when we’ll be seeing the goggleboxes hitting our shores.

Roku TV offers all the same content you’ll find on Roku Players, but the interface has been tweaked to work seamlessly with other TV services too.

Roku's UI has been adapted for Smart TVs
Roku’s UI has been adapted for Smart TVs

Roku founder Anthony Wood said: “We enhanced the Roku operating system to power the entire TV experience. That means we’ve applied our philosophy of simple and powerful across the entire TV – from the home screen to the remote control to picture settings.

“Consumers will love the personalized home screen which places their favorite entertainment options like the cable TV box, game console and streaming channels front and center. There’s no more flipping through inputs or wading through complicated menus to select entertainment.”

In a UK version, this hopefully will see TV services such as Freeview, Sky, BT TV or Virgin Media alongside your games console and streaming channels in a similar fashion to the Xbox OneGuide, so you’ll no longer have to faff about remembering which input launches your Xbox or YouView box, for example.

The enhanced search means you won’t have to trawl through thousands of listings to find what you’re looking for either – but this feature is only reserved for the top 13 streaming channels.

Beyond this, Roku’s TVs will give access to more than 1,700 streaming channels, with more than 200,000 movies and TV episodes, plus other content to suit your mood such as fitness, sports, news, kids and music.

Hisense Roku TVs will be available in 40-inch, 48in, 50in and 55in models in the US from September, while TCL Roku TVs can be pre-ordered now from Amazon USA in 32in, 40in, 48in and 55in models.

Roku launched the third iteration of its streaming device at the beginning of the year and has since launched the Roku streaming stick in a direct challenge to Google Chromecast.

The older Roku 2 box is also the hardware inside Sky’s Now TV Box, which presents interesting opportunities for UK versions of Roku TV.

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