Roku Adds Sharp, Insignia Brands to TV Models6 May, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Roku May 6 announced it has added the Sharp brand to its line of Internet-connected televisions. Sharp Roku TVs will be available for purchase exclusively at Best Buy in 43-inch and 50-inch screen sizes, priced at $380 and $500, respectively. The units feature 1080p Full HD resolution and a 60hz native refresh rate.
“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,” Vishnu Rao, director of technology planning for Sharp Electronics, said in a statement.
Roku is also bowing Insignia-branded TV models featuring 1,400 entertainment apps available in 32-inch and 55-inch screen sizes at Best Buy in Canada, priced from $330 and $800 (Canadian), respectively.
Saratoga, Calif.-based Roku ushered in the streaming video era with a branded Netflix player in 2008. Since then more than 10 million Roku streaming media devices have been sold linking the TV to over-the-top video. Two years ago Roku launched a line of Internet-connected televisions made in China in an effort to avoid being shut out of the “smart-TV” market.
The Roku TV home screen can be personalized with icons of favorite entertainment choices, including game consoles, cable boxes and Blu-ray Disc players. Consumers no longer need to navigate through multiple inputs and menus to watch live TV, stream a movie or listen to a favorite song.
The Roku Channel Store includes more than 2,000 streaming apps featuring movies, TV Everywhere, live sports, music, news, and fitness, among other content. In addition, users can search availability and pricing for movies and TV shows, in addition to actors, directors and filmographies.
A new feature — dubbed “Roku Feed” — alerts users when entertainment becomes available to stream — and at what price. When browsing within “movies coming soon,” users “follow” popular in-theater movies they are interested in and Roku sends automatic updates when relevant streaming information about the movie becomes available. Updates are provided when a movie is first released to streaming, becomes available from additional streaming channels or changes price.
The Roku TV remote has half the buttons of a traditional TV remote and includes a directional pad for additional convenience. Roku TV can also be controlled with a mobile device using the free Roku mobile app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The iOS and Android versions also support voice search. In addition, consumers can cast Netflix and YouTube, as well as personal video, photos and music, directly from their mobile device to their Roku TV.