The latest no-frills Roku TVs start at $250
A good option if you care about simplicity, apps, and price more than picture quality.
After launching a well-reviewed and affordable 4K HDR TV with TCL, Roku is going back to low-cost TVs for the latest series of televisions that run the company’s streaming software. Today Roku and partner RCA are announcing a new lineup of HD Roku TVs. Three sizes are available: a 32-inch model costs $249.99, a 43-inch model is $379.99, and the top-end 50-inch model is $499.
The 43- and 50-inch TVs are 1080p, with the smaller 32-inch size having a resolution of 1366x768. These are meant to be no-frills displays. They’re not going to blow you away on picture quality. Like the bargain-priced Roku TVs before them, the selling point here is the easy-to-use software and the thousands of streaming apps that Roku offers. There’s also a TV tuner input to take advantage of the live, over-the-air TV features that Roku’s OS supports — like pausing live programming. But for most customers walking into Walmart, the pitch here is that these TVs just work, are intuitive, and get you to Netflix, Amazon Video, and other apps quickly. RCA isn’t alone in going after those consumers with Roku TVs.
“RCA has been associated with American innovation for almost a century and we believe consumers will enjoy the RCA Roku TV experience,” said Chas Smith, Roku’s general manager for Roku TV and Roku players. That might be true, but “RCA” is something of a zombie brand now. Technicolor owns the brand and, for these TVs, has licensed it to a company called Display-Vu.
These new RCA TVs are all available starting now from Amazon, Walmart, and a mix of other retailers including BJ’s, Brand Smart, ABC Appliances, and a store called Cowboy Maloney. I’ve never heard of that last one, but it’s an amazing name.