You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Roku Sets 4K Ultra HD Plans, Pacts with Best Buy for Insignia-Branded TVs

Internet-video streaming device maker working with Netflix to deliver 4K content through future Ultra HD TVs

Roku is redoubling efforts to get its Internet video-streaming platform embedded into TVs.

The company said it plans to team with manufacturers on 4K Ultra HD television sets — along with a partnership with Netflix to deliver 4K content through the TVs — and also has reached a deal with Best Buy, which will introduce a Roku-based HDTV under the retailer’s high-end Insignia brand. The news is timed for the 2015 International CES trade show this week in Las Vegas.

Roku is best known for its standalone set-tops, which provide access to more than 2,000 channels of Internet-delivered video, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Amazon Video and HBO Go. But to expand its footprint, the company wants to get baked inside millions of connected TVs: Last fall, the first Roku TV models from Chinese consumer-electronics giants TCL and Hisense began shipping in the U.S.

For Ultra HD, which offers four times the resolution of 1080p HD, Roku will license a reference design of its platform for 4K smart TVs to manufacturing partners. TCL is an initial partner that has signed on to build Roku-enabled 4K television sets.

Today, Ultra HD content remains relatively scarce, and TVs supporting the format have been considerably more expensive than conventional HDTVs. But industry watchers expect 4K adoption to grow steadily over the next few years as the ecosystem expands.

Popular on Variety

“With the maturation of 4K, including the dramatic price reductions of 4K TVs, the growing amount of 4K content available for streaming and the increased consumer awareness of the benefits of 4K, the time is right for Roku to offer Roku TV 4K solutions to global TV OEMs (original equipment manufacturers),” Roku CEO Anthony Wood said in a statement.

For Netflix, which began offering Ultra HD content to subscribers last year, it’s important “to work closely with partners like Roku to give consumers more streaming options,” said Neil Hunt, Netflix’s chief product officer.

Best Buy’s line of Roku-based Insignia sets will initially be conventional HDTVs, slated to be available starting this spring in stores and at BestBuy.com.

In another new partnership, Roku has secured a deal with Haier America, the U.S. subsidiary of China’s Haier Group, under which Roku TV models are expected to ship in the third quarter of 2015 with screen sizes ranging from 32 to 65 inches. Haier also plans to release “Roku-ready TVs” in the first quarter of 2015 bundled with the HDMI-based Roku Streaming Stick.

Roku’s goal with the strategy is to make it as easy as possible to access the company’s lineup of Internet-video channels, using the TV’s own remote. For one thing, the Roku interface is the default screen consumers see when they turn on their sets, although users can change the primary input to another source such as a cable or satellite set-top, gaming console or over-the-air antenna.

Roku investors include BSkyB, 21st Century Fox, Hearst, Fidelity Investments and venture-capital firms Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners. The Saratoga, Calif.-based company has raised about $155 million to date, including a $25 million round in October.

More Digital

  • PewDiePie aka Felix KjellbergFelix Kjellberg 'This

    PewDiePie Announces He's Taking a Break From YouTube in 2020

    The gamer behind YouTube’s most-watched channel, PewDiePie (real name Felix Kjellberg), announced in his latest Pew News video, posted Saturday, that he is planning to take a break from the platform next year. Towards the end of the video, which slams YouTube for its inability to effectively enforce its latest policy updates, Kjellberg says, “I [...]

  • Cenk Uygur

    Bernie Sanders Retracts Endorsement of Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur After Backlash

    Bernie Sanders pulled his support for Cenk Uygur’s congressional bid, with the Vermont independent in part acknowledging that Sanders’ supporters were “frustrated” about the endorsement. Sanders, who’s running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, cited Uygur’s announcement Friday that he would not be accepting any endorsements. In a statement, Sanders alluded to sexist and other [...]

  • Tana MongeauStreamy Awards, Arrivals, The Beverly

    Streamy Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List

    The 9th Annual Streamy Awards — honoring the best from YouTube and online video — were held Friday night in Beverly Hills. Tana Mongeau (pictured above) was named Creator of the Year and Rhett & Link’s “Good Mythical Morning” won Show of the Year in the two fan-voted Audience Choice categories. David Dobrik picked up [...]

  • NBC News - Quibi

    NBC News Digital Workers Form New Union

    A group of approximately 150 editorial workers who help produce some of NBC News digital content have formed a union, citing a desire to push their employer to work more seriously through such issues as equal pay and the recent handling of sensitive stories. Editorial employees of NBC News Digital won certification of their union [...]

  • Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    Fox Nation Tests Holiday Programming

    The Fox Nation streaming-video service has long been touted as a new option for super-fans of the Fox News Channel. But some of the broadband hub’s new programming choices suggest adherents of “Fox & Friends” and Sean Hannity aren’t looking solely for chatter about politics and interviews with members of the Trump administration. Subscribers to [...]

  • Facebook

    FTC May Stop Facebook From Integrating Whatsapp, Instagram

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is weighing whether it should seek an injunction against Facebook to prevent the social media giant from integrating services like Whatsapp, Messenger and Instagram with its core app, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Regulators fear that Facebook’s app integration plans could make [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content