Roku will sell company-made smart TVs at Best Buy
A video sign displays the logo for Roku Inc, a Fox-backed video streaming firm, in Times Square after the company’s IPO at the Nasdaq Market in New York, September 28, 2017.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Roku said Thursday it will sell the first smart TVs designed and made by the company exclusively at Best Buy and the electronic retailer’s website.
Roku’s hardware items, including streaming players and sound-amplifying devices, have often been the money-losing parts of the business. It also sells branded TVs made by third parties such as Westinghouse and Hisense, which are sold at a variety of retailers.
Roku CEO Anthony Wood told CNBC in January he is optimistic about selling the new TVs.
The company-made sets will provide “more choice for customers” while helping boost active account growth, Wood said earlier this week at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.
“It also kind of provides a direct contact with the customers that allows us to make the innovation cycle even faster,” Wood added. “In Roku’s case, I think it will also allow us to continue to move upstream faster in terms of like the sort of higher-end customers.”
The announcement comes soon after Roku reported fourth-quarter results in February, posting a smaller-than-expected loss. However, some analysts remain worried about the streaming and hardware company as advertisers pull back spending.
Shares of Roku are up more than 55% so far this year, as of Wednesday’s close. Its market value stands at about $8.86 billion.
Roku, which has 70 million active U.S. accounts, also announced platformwide updates for its operating system, which will hit in the coming weeks, the company said.
New features coming to Roku devices in the U.S. include the launch of Local News, which personalizes live news channels by location and allows users to stream channels from major U.S. cities. These recommendations will be powered by artificial intelligence, according to Roku’s announcement.
The new TVs will feature Roku’s voice remote pro, Bluetooth private listening, automatic brightness and local dimming.
Roku also announced updates to its mobile app, including an expanded Account Hub, a simpler home screen interface and a Live TV Channel “Guide” button.