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article imageRCA producing 'smart' Roku TVs increasing competition

By Ken Hanly     Aug 10, 2017 in Business
Roku TVs are smart TVs in that they have built into them the functions of the Roku streaming player which makes available many channels, some free but others paid.
The Roku is a streaming media player. It takes content from the Internet and displays it on your TV. There are several different Roku models that differ in performance features and price. All models are able to access the 3500 Roku channels it streams. The Roku service will work with any existing cable system or you can use it as an alternative to cable. There are a wide selection of free services but also subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, etc. If you already have subscriptions you can view them without further charge through Roku. You have access to other sources such as Amazon Video, and Google Play but there will be charges for that.
Roku TV is a type of smart TV which incorporates the functions of the Roku media player within the TV itself so no independent Roku player is needed. The Roku TV will provide you to access to all your entertainment sources such as a game console, or streaming channels such as Netflix and You Tube from a single interface. There are various manufacturers of Roku TVs with varying prices, screen sizes, and picture resolution.
If you are in the market for a budget priced TV then a Roku TV is worth considering. However, there are other ways you can have content displayed on your TV from the Internet. You can simply use a laptop or desktop that is connected to the Internet and connect through an HDMI cable or with some older TV's and computers a VGA cable plus an audio cable. You can use the TV as if it were a monitor for the computer. although the sound will come through the TV.
Alternatively, if you have an older type TV that does not connect to the Internet, you can simply purchase one of the several models of Roku media players. A decent Roku player can cost fifty dollars (Canadian) or even less. You will have the same advantages as if you had a Roku TV except that you will have the extra of the player that must be connected to your TV. It can be separately powered through an adapter plugged in to a regular outlet. It can also be powered by being plugged into a USB outlet if there is one in your TV. You will need an HDMI port in your TV. The appended video shows how to install one model of the Roku.
Before, RCA entered the field manufactures such as Haier, Hisense, Insignia, Sharp and TCL already were actively producing Roku TVs indicating the popularity of the Roku streaming operating system (OS). Big brands such as Samsung and LG have their own proprietary systems and Sony and Vizion use Google Android TV or Google Cast as platforms.
Consumer reports has an evaluation of many Roku TVs here. The review praises the relative cheapness of the TVs and the relative ease with which they can be set up including an on-screen tutorial. The review notes: "In fact, everything we like about the Roku platform—a wealth of content options, an easy-to-use interface, and a universal search capability that doesn't favor content from one service over another—is now baked into the TV itself. " All the devices you have connected to the TV show up on the screen as apps. To use any of the devices you just click on the app icon and the TV connects to the app. An advantage of having the Roku within the TV is that you do not need two remotes, one for the player and one for the TV. However if you still have a cable box, you will still need a remote for that.
The report found that Roku OS is not ideal as a TV interface. You need to sign into or set up a Roku account before you can use your set. The review also notes: "Once you're logged in, the TV updates its apps, which can often be a lengthy process. And when you turn on the TV, it defaults to the Roku home screen, not live TV as most sets do. To watch any programming, you have to select the appropriate app from the tier of onscreen tiles." It may take a while for a user to learn how to use every feature of the TV. There are a few differences in the remote as well. The volume controls are usually on the top of the remote but the Roku TV remote has them at the side. A You Tube review of the economical 50 inch LCT Roku TV is appended.
The RCA line of Roku TV has HD but no 4k. A 50 inch TV is priced at $499, a 43 inch at $380, and a 32 inch at just $250. The TV's are said to be available at Amazon and Walmart as well as several other retailers. Some apparently are already being marked down in price, no doubt to compete with other manufacturers. The TCL brand is quoted in a CNET article as selling at $170 dollars for the 32 inch model, $300 for the 40 inch and $350 for the 49 inch. I assume those prices are in US dollars. If you are in the market for a new TV and perhaps want to cut the cord on your cable connection you might look seriously at the new Roku TV's available from many manufacturers.
More about Rca, roku streaming media players, roku tvs
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