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CES is a prime occasion for all parts of the TV industry to promote
the slow but inevitable march to 4K becoming widely adopted, from TV
manufacturers to content providers. This year, Roku is among the
companies making 4K a priority — the company has just announced that it
plans to support 4K Ultra HD streaming in future models. To start
pushing the format forward, the company has built a Roku TV reference
model to license out to smart TV manufacturers, and Chinese
manufacturing giant TCL has been announced as the first partner who'll
build 4K TVs running the Roku TV platform.
Naturally, Roku will need 4K content, and Netflix is being announced
as its first 4K streaming content provider. It's a logical choice, given
how Netflix has been one of the first supporters and distributors of
popular 4K video, even though its selection is still rather limited. Of
course, Roku hasn't said when we can expect to see models that support
the 4K resolution, so by the time they launch, Netflix may have filled
out its content selection a bit more.
There's no word yet on when these new 4K-capable models will launch
In addition to its new 4K push, Roku also announced the expansion of
the Roku TV platform with two new hardware partners. Best Buy's Insignia
brand will start offering Roku TV on select models starting this
spring. Haier is also planning to include Roku TV on some of its smart
TVs, but they won't be available until Q3 of this year. Still, Haier is a
natural partner for Roku — the company was one of the first to put its weight behind the Roku streaming stick
at CES 2013. While the wide variety of devices like Roku and its
competitors means that it isn't terribly essential to have a great smart
TV platform built into your TV set, it's definitely a positive move to
see more companies embracing popular platforms like Roku rather than
building their own (often substandard) solutions.
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