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TCL shows simpler smarts with Roku TV

Chinese TV brand TCL will be among the first to debut a TV with a virtual Roku streaming box built right in.

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David Katzmaier
David_Katzmaier.jpg
David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- TVs and streaming

David runs CNET's home entertainment division, where he leads a team that covers TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home audio. If he doesn't know something about the gear you use to keep yourself entertained at home, it's not worth knowing.

Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
2 min read

One of the benefits of Roku TV is the clean, easy-to-use interface. Roku/TCL

Update August 2014: TCL's Roku TVs are shipping now under slightly different model numbers than indicated in the below CES preview. Check out this article for updated details on Roku TVs.

LAS VEGAS -- Chinese brands TCL and Hisense are going to be the first two TV makers to introduce Roku TVs. The 55E4610R is TCL's 55-inch version.

Due to hit shelves in the fall of 2014, the TCL 55E4610R will arrive alongside 48- and 32-inch sets. TCL told us the two larger models, available for demo at CES this week, are 1080p LED sets with 120Hz refresh rates, three HDMI inputs, and sleek glass bases. In other words, standard TVs, except for built-in Roku.

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. Roku's best-in-class streaming software is one of the main reasons the company's boxes have earned CNET's Editors' Choice award over tough competitors like the Apple TV and Google Chromecast.

Roku TV: Television sets with Roku streaming built-in (pictures)

See all photos

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. We've asked TCL whether its TVs will support cool remote headphone jack feature found on Roku's boxes, but so far it looks like the answer is "no."

Pricing for the TCL models will be announced later this year, and according to Roku they'll have "entry-level" price points.

For the full rundown of the Roku TV interface, as well as an exclusive video, check out our in-depth report.

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