LAS VEGAS -- Roku announced the Roku TV platform today at CES 2014, partnering with Chinese manufacturers Hisense and TCL to produce the first sets. Six models are slated to launch this fall -- three from each company -- in sizes from 32 to 55 inches.
The idea isn't all that different than the Smart TV features included by most TV manufacturers, except that it's Roku's excellent software, which means Roku TVs will have access to over 1,000 channels, cross-platform search for movies and TV shows, and a clean, simple user interface.
Unlike most traditional TVs, when you turn on a Roku TV, the first thing you'll see is the Roku home screen. The interface looks nearly identical to the one found on modern Roku boxes, with the exception of icons for your other devices, such as "Cable" and "Blu-ray."
Those icons are basically fancy input labels. Once you select a device, it will switch to the corresponding input, but then you'll have to pick up its remote, as a Roku TV can't control other devices, such as a cable DVR.
The Roku TV remote looks a lot like a standard Roku remote with just a few added buttons for TV control. The big addition is the red power button at the top, plus there's a volume rocker and a mute button on the side.
What the initial press photos don't show is the headphone jack feature that's so popular on the Roku 3 and Roku 2. Roku said that manufacturers will have the option to implement that feature on Roku TVs, but it doesn't appear that these initial models will support the feature.