Roku, which has had a device that has been streaming movies from Netflix since 2008, announced the Roku smart TV at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
"Roku plans to license its software to television manufacturers, which will build and distribute the Roku TV," says a story on the Los Angeles Times’ Company Town blog. "Two Chinese electronics manufacturers, TCL and Hisense, are the first to partner with Roku on the smart TV."
The story continues, "Roku is entering a competitive market, with established television manufacturers including Samsung, LG and Sony; and entrants from Silicon Valley, such as Google Inc.’s re-branded Android TV (formerly known as Google TV). Apple has long been rumored to be working on a TV.
" ‘If you think about streaming, the two categories of products growing are set-top boxes like ours … [and] smart TVs,’ said Jim Funk, Roku senior vice president of product management. ‘We want as big a platform as possible for Roku.’ "
While TV sets that feature 3D have not caught fire with consumers, smart TVs could be the next TV product to find favor with viewers.
The New York Times reports today: "Out of all the TV makers’ tricks, smart TVs appear to be gaining some traction. In the year that ended in November, 22 percent of televisions sold in the United States were Internet-connected TVs, compared with 11 percent in the previous year, according to [the NPD Group, a research firm].
"And an NPD survey found that 38 percent of people who bought smart TVs found the Internet connectivity and apps to be important; two years ago, 33 percent of respondents said the feature was important."
The New York Times story adds: “ ‘The TV industry is in a doldrum because many people have more sources for their content, and many people have upgraded and they’re not ready to upgrade again,’ said Raymond M. Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, a consulting firm that studies displays."