Back in January Roku announced that it would start producing its own TVs in 2023 — now, those TVs are starting to roll out to store shelves.
Roku is selling its TVs under two names. There’s the Roku Select Series that comes in five screen sizes from 24 inches up to 75 inches and the Roku Plus Series QLED that will be available in 55, 65 and 75 inches.
Prices start at $149 for the Roku Select (opens in new tab), and Roku expects that main retail partner Best Buy will drop that price down to around $120 in the near future. Similarly, Roku's QLED TVs are starting at $649 (opens in new tab) with “an expected street price” of $499.
Guys, Roku really wants to sell these TVs.
But…why are they so cheap?
If I’ve taught you anything about TV shopping, it’s that cheap TVs should raise some red flags. In fact, that’s why I wrote a whole article about Insignia TVs recently — there’s always a trade-off to be made here.
For the Roku Select Series, the weakness will likely come down to the number of local dimming zones the TVs use. If that turns out to be the case, contrast could take a hit. Also, the 24- and 32-inch models top out at a 720p resolution, which means you’ll at least need to step up to the $319 43-inch Roku Select if you want 4K.
That said, there’s still a surprising amount of demand for smaller budget TVs, and Roku seems primed to fill in that gap. This is the company that made a whole business model selling cheap smart streaming players for around $30 apiece, so this whole cheap TV strategy fits in nicely with Roku’s playbook.
I’ll have to spend some time with these new TVs to make any definitive judgments — but folks looking for a small, cheap smart TV should keep Roku's Select Series and Plus Series offerings on their radar.
Correction: An earlier version of this story claimed that the Roku Select Series uses edge lighting instead of full array local dimming. Roku has since reached out to clarify that the Select Series will use full array. We apologize for the error.
Although the model numbers make me wonder if the Roku is a rebrand TCL.
TCL Model: 75R655
Roku Model: 75R6A5R