Roku makes the best smart TV software, and now it's available on TVs from the second-largest television manufacturer worldwide.
LG is second only to Samsung in TV sales, and is easily the biggest name to offer a Roku TV. The 55-inch LG 55LF5700 ($549) and 65-inch 65LF5700 ($999) are on sale now at Best Buy, both in-store and online.
They're part of what LG says is a limited-time promotion with Best Buy. The 65-inch size represents the largest Roku TV model yet. Meanwhile the 55-inch model costs more than a couple of other 55-inch Roku sets, namely the Insignia NS-55DR420NA16 ($499) and a TCL Black Friday special at Amazon ($350), but it's currently the same as the TCL 55FS370.
Like other Roku TVs from brands such as Sharp, Insignia, TCL and Hisense, the LG models are entry-level televisions in terms of features, lacking the latest picture-enhancing extras. Those other sets have earned "good enough" image quality marks in our reviews, and we don't expect these LG sets to perform much better. Their real strength is Roku's simple, powerful smart TV system.
Instead of LG's very good Web OS system, these TVs have Roku's excellent one. It offers many, many more apps; a simple, tile-based interface that treats the inputs for connected devices the same as other apps like Netflix and Amazon; Roku's class-leading search; and neat extras such as Roku Feeds, which lets you "follow" shows, movies and more to receive updates in streaming availability and price changes. It also has a very simple remote control.
On the other hand you won't get the motion remote, slick animated graphics and voice search of Web OS, but in my experience they're less important compared to Roku's advantages. And if you want to use voice search with a Roku TV, you can always use Roku's app for Apple iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices.
I can only hope this opens the door to a Roku-powered OLED TV, but according to a statement LG sent after this article posted, that doesn't seem likely at the moment. "As part of a limited-time promotion with Best Buy, LG is offering one entry-level series of TV with non-LG Smart TV technology this holiday season. While the Roku platform was chosen for this brief, cost-competitive promotion, LG's own webOS platform remains at the core of our extensive Smart TV lineup."
Updated with new information from LG.