Roku will sell company-made smart TVs at Best Buy
A video sign displays the logo for Roku Inc, the Fox-backed video streaming company, in Times Square following the company’s IPO on the Nasdaq Market in New York, September 28, 2017.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Roku said Thursday that it will sell the first smart TVs designed and manufactured by the company exclusively at Best Buy and the electronic retailer’s website.
Roku’s hardware products, including streaming players and sound amplifiers, have often been parts of the business that have lost money. It also sells branded televisions made by third parties such as Westinghouse and Hisense, which are sold at various retailers.
Roku CEO Anthony Wood told CNBC in January that he is optimistic about selling the new TVs.
The company-made sets “give customers more choice” while helping to increase active account growth, Wood said earlier this week at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.
“It’s also kind of a direct connection to the customers that allows us to do the innovation cycle even faster,” Wood said. “In Roku’s case, I think it allows us to continue to ‘moving upstream more quickly in terms of such high-end customer types.’
The news comes shortly after Roku reported fourth-quarter results in February, posting a smaller-than-expected loss. However, some analysts remain concerned about the streaming and hardware company as advertisers pull back spending.
Roku shares are up more than 55% so far this year, as of Wednesday’s close. Its market value is around $8.86 billion.
Roku, which has 70 million active US accounts, announced platform-wide updates for its operating system, which will hit in the coming weeks, the company said.
New features coming to Roku devices in the US include the launch of Local News, which personalizes live news channels by location and allows users to stream channels from major US cities. Those recommendations will be driven by artificial intelligence, according to Roku’s announcement.
The new TVs feature Roku’s pro voice remote, 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.