Ryan Haines / Android Authority
Smart TVs are everywhere these days, and while big brands like Samsung and Sony take a significant share of the market, other options do exist. Roku may be known for its streaming adapters, but it also has smart TVs. Here’s an overview of what Roku TV is and the models available.
What is Roku TV?
To put it simply, Roku TV is like any other smart TV, which means it’s a TV that lets you use streaming services, apps, and other features, like voice control, without using any external devices. Roku licenses other manufacturers to make Roku TVs, including Onn, Sharp, RCA, Hisense, and others. What makes Roku TV different from other brands is that they use Roku OS. The OS is what makes it easy to use those apps, streaming services, voice control, and more.
A Roku TV is a TV that runs Roku OS.
When you first turn on Roku TV, you’ll see the home screen. From here, you can access streaming programs such as Netflix, Disney Plus, and others, view regular broadcast or cable television, change settings, and more. Depending on your Roku TV model, you can adjust certain picture settings. And if you have audio products marked with the Roku TV Ready logo, you can integrate them into your home theater setup as well.
How is Roku TV different from Roku Streaming Stick?
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
While this guide is about Roku TVs, Roku is probably more popular for streaming sticks and boxes. These are different apps that you can attach to any TV to use Roku services.
If you already love your TV, this option might be right for you, but if you’re in the market for a new TV and like Roku, the Roku TV might fit the bill. On the other hand, the Roku Streaming Stick has the advantage of working on almost any TV with an HDMI port. Plus, a Broadcast stick is more expensive than a new TV.
But it has some drawbacks. For example, you’ll need to track two remotes: the Roku remote and your TV. Furthermore, the integration between your TV and the content you play will not be too difficult.
The difference between Roku TVs and other smart TVs
As we briefly mentioned before, what sets Roku TV apart from other smart TVs is the Roku OS. Roku TV works like other smart TV operating systems.
Perhaps the most important thing about Roku OS is how well it can work with other devices. Instead of locking yourself into a single voice assistant, you can use Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit. And because Roku has been in the business for a while, things are always going well. That’s not to say things aren’t going well, but the overall experience is consistent.
Roku TVs work with many other smart assistants, unlike other offers.
Some Roku TVs also tend to support picture standards like Dolby Vision and 4K HDR (depending on the model). That means you get an enhanced picture with the help of built-in streaming services.
Roku TV vs. Samsung TV, Apple TV, Fire TV, WebOS, and Google TV
Now that you know what Roku TV is and how it stacks up against other smart TV platforms, you may be wondering how it compares to other options. One general thing to note is that not every platform will have every streaming app available. Furthermore, official smart TV operating systems tend to lag behind Roku in terms of new apps and features. With that in mind, here’s a quick list of other smart TV options compared to the Roku.
Samsung Tizen TV
Samsung uses an operating system known as Tizen for its smart TV offerings. This creates an experience that is tightly integrated with other Samsung products and Bixby, but third-party devices may not seamlessly integrate.
Samsung TVs tend to have a simple user interface and a decent selection of apps. It’s not as comprehensive as other options but it’s still varied enough to include YouTube, Prime Video, and more. You also get Samsung TV Plus, which offers free TV and select movies.
However, some people may find Tizen’s simple user interface a bit underwhelming. In addition, the quality control can sometimes be blurry, and the search feature is not as powerful as in other smart TV systems.
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
Apple doesn’t make TVs, so you’ll need to buy a separate Apple TV device to use their smart TV options – not to be confused with the Apple TV Plus streaming service.
If you rely on the ease of use and integration that a smart TV gives you, then using a set-top box like Apple TV might not be for you. But Apple TV can make sense if you’re immersed in the Apple ecosystem.
You can choose Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, depending on your TV support and how you want to watch content. Another notable feature of Apple TV 4K is Apple Arace, which allows you to browse a wide library of games.
Amazon’s offering to the smart TV world is the Fire TV. Like Roku, you can buy Fire TV Sticks for streaming or TV with Fire TV built-in. As expected, it lets you use Alexa for voice commands but not other assistants. As for apps, you can’t access the entire Google Play Store even though the Fire TV is based on Android, but you can install some additional apps.
Fire TV will fit into your lifestyle if you’re already a fan of Amazon services. You can access cloud-based streaming services like Apple TV 4K.
Adamya Sharma / Android Authority
LG’s smart TVs run WebOS. It has a full-screen interface and works with Bluetooth devices such as keyboards. You can choose to use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa as your voice assistant.
WebOS lets you use live apps, allowing you to pause content in one app, then come back later and resume where you left off. This can be useful if you are a multitasker and want to keep track of your progress on a show or movie. However, you don’t get as many apps to choose from on WebOS compared to other options.
Android TV and Google TV
Android TV is pretty impressive, but you might not notice it at first. Just like Android phones, manufacturers put their own spin on Android TVs, so the experience isn’t very consistent across bands. This can mean a less-than-seamless experience but also one that feels more tailored to your particular TV.
Android TVs can stream from Chromecast, which makes it easy to stream content that you might not be able to access using the built-in apps. And as expected, Google Assistant is your voice command option.
Google TV is the latest iteration of Android TV. It uses algorithms and recommendations to display new content. You get access to many streaming services, including 43 of the most popular ones like Peacock, Discovery Plus, Crackle, and many more.
Should I buy a Roku TV?
If you’re considering a Roku TV, it might make sense for you if you want a fully integrated device with a remote to keep track of. Roku works with other smart device ecosystems, too, making it easy to integrate into existing settings. Additionally, the interface is easy to use, and you have a good selection of apps to browse.
Roku also tends to update its OS and add new features faster than their own TVs, which can be useful if you want the latest and greatest.
However, you lose some flexibility if you choose a TV with Roku built-in. You’ll be tied to Roku services unless you buy an adapter or set-top box from another brand, which introduces the hassle of buying a separate device.
Frequently asked questions about Roku TV
Roku TVs come in HD, 4K, and 8K resolutions and start at 24 inches and up.
No, Roku licenses its OS and name to manufacturers like Onn, Sharp, and others that make the TV itself.
No, Roku TV is a term used for smart TVs that use Roku OS as built-in software.