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TCL to Launch First Roku 8K TVs This Year

Still thought 8K TVs were a fad? Think again: Mass-market TV manufacturer TCL is jumping on the 8K bandwagon by announcing its very first Roku 8K TVs at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. 8K TCL Roku TVs are expected to ship in late 2019, the company revealed Monday.

“Together TCL and Roku have delivered millions of smart TVs to consumers across North America that they love to use,” said Roku TV senior vice president Chas Smith. “In designing and delivering 8K TCL Roku TVs we will reach new heights by offering beautiful picture quality combined with America’s No. 1 TV streaming platform.”

Roku also announced Monday that it was adding support for far-field microphones to its TV reference design. TCL is expected to ship first models supporting far-field voice control later this year. There is no word yet on whether those 8K TVs will have far-field microphones built-in as well.

“We are thrilled to continue to break boundaries as we to plan to build televisions that push the limits of picture quality and offer TV models with built-in voice control,” said TCL senior vice president Chris Larson in a statement.

TCL has been Roku’s biggest and most important partner in the smart TV space, and Roku has helped to massively grow TCL’s U.S. business in just a few years. Thanks largely to TCL TV sales, 1 in 4 smart TVs sold in the first 9 months of this year was a Roku TV, the company said Monday.

However, Roku has also struck deals with other TV manufacturers to carry TV sets powered by its operating system as well. Earlier on Monday, Roku announced that Westinghouse would ship HD and 4K Roku TVs this year as well.

The growing smart TV foothold helps Roku as it further scales its services business. The company has seen double-digit growth for its advertising business, thanks in part to its own ad-supported Roku Channel. And last week, Roku announced that it would begin to resell subscription video services via the Roku Channel as well.

Roku also announced Monday that it surpassed 27 million active accounts in Q4 of 2018. The company estimated that Q4 streaming hours were 7.3 billion, up 68 percent year-over-year. This would bring the total streaming hours for 2018, coming from both Roku TVs as well as the company’s streaming boxes and sticks, to 24 billion.

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