Please no — Roku plans to plaster its home screen with more ads

Roku home screen on a television set
(Image credit: Roku)

If you thought your Roku TV home screen was already well-crowded enough, get ready for even more ads to litter your display.

According to advertisement publication AdExchanger, Roku is seeking to bring on a host of new campaigns centered primarily around interactivity and shopping via your TV. In the midst of CES last week, the company’s VP of global sales and partnerships, Kristina Shepard, explained that Roku will “immerse advertisers in more parts of the home screen.”

As one of the major leading TV software providers and now even a hardware distributor, bringing to market several new display options like the Roku Plus Series 4K QLED TV from last year, the firm aims to invite a whole new way of monetizing its customer base.

The best way to do that? Grab their attention the moment they turn on the screen.

All the ads in one place

In June of last year, Roku rolled out a new Click-to-Buy ads feature that allowed businesses to sell items to Roku TV customers via Shopify. It was one of the first strategies to highlight Roku’s burgeoning new mode of thinking in terms of monetization, ensuring that its TV OS platform could thrive in a new era of advertising.

Now it aims to make it even more annoying to access your favorite apps — let alone personalize your home screen — with more interactive and shopping campaigns at the heart of its newfound strategy. Previous years’ iterations, like the virtual showrooms and virtual catalogs of last year, will only flourish on Roku devices.

In her conversation with AdExchanger, Shepard described Roku’s vision as one of putting its software in as many households as possible. This gives Roku a wide berth of approach when it comes to ads, as more of a reach comes more advertising opportunities, which then equates to more money.

The company just announced a new lineup of Roku Pro series TVs for 2024, which will be geared toward making this ad-filled home screen vision a reality. Additionally, these ads won’t just be based upon mere media and entertainment goods, as they will also include campaigns for everything from clothes to household necessities.

While users can still modify how Roku advertises to the user, which can be done on its website in its ad preferences window, it’s not like you can completely get rid of them. Through this, users can simply change what types of ads and who is marketing to them as opposed to limiting their reach — a reach that, as of right now, already takes up as much as one third of the screen.

Unfortunately, Roku isn't the only platform experimenting with paid advertising: Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu, are starting to roll out more ways to monetize viewers through such campaigns. 

Is there any way to escape ads? Not even the best TVs come ad-free, but you can add a separate streaming player, like an Apple TV 4K, to avoid the adverts.

More from Tom's Guide

Ryan Epps
Staff Writer

Ryan Epps is a Staff Writer under the TV/AV section at Tom's Guide focusing on TVs and projectors. When not researching PHOLEDs and writing about the next major innovation in the projector space, he's consuming random anime from the 90's, playing Dark Souls 3 again, or reading yet another Haruki Murakami novel. 

  • will.frame
    This is why Apple TV is going to be the only viable option for streaming. It might be a little more expensive, but you get what you pay for. Screw Roku, Amazon, and all the "Smart" TV platforms that try to spam you with ads.