Roku Streaming Stick 4K remote control in front of the TV

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Smart TVs are ubiquitous these days, and while big brands like Samsung and Sony have significant market share, there are other options. The Roku may be known for its streaming adapters, but it also has smart TVs. Here’s a rundown of what a Roku TV is and the models available.

What is the Roku TV?

Product image of the Roku 2022 TCL Class 5 TV.

Put simply, the Roku TV is just like any other smart TV, meaning it’s a TV that allows you to use internet streaming services, apps, and other features like voice control without having to use any external devices. Roku licenses other manufacturers to produce Roku TVs, including Onn, Sharp, RCA, Hisense, and more. What sets Roku TVs apart from other brands is that they support Roku OS. The operating system allows you to use these applications, streaming services, voice control, and more.

Roku TV is a TV with the Roku operating system.

The first time you turn on your Roku TV, you’ll see the Home screen. From here, you can access streaming apps like Netflix, Disney Plus, and more, watch conventional broadcasting or cable, change settings, and more. Depending on your Roku TV model, you can also adjust some picture settings. And if you have audio products with the Roku TV Ready logo, you can also integrate them into your home theater system.

How is the Roku TV different from the Roku Streaming Stick?

Rroku Streaming Stick 4K next to the box.

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

While this guide is about Roku TVs, the Roku may be better known for its streaming sticks and boxes. These are separate adapters that can be plugged into any TV to enjoy Roku services.

If you already like your TV, this option may be best for you, but if you’re looking for a new TV and like the Roku TV, the Roku TV might fit the bill better. The Roku Streaming Stick, on the other hand, has the advantage of working on almost any TV with an HDMI port. Plus, the Streaming Stick is much cheaper than a brand new TV.

But it also has some drawbacks. For example, you’ll need to track two remotes: the Roku remote and the TV remote. Moreover, the integration between the TV and the content being played will not be too tight.

The difference between Roku TVs and other Smart TVs

Product image of the UQ75 series 86-inch LG LED 4K UHD Smart webOS TV from the LG series in a Midcentury Modern style room.

As we mentioned shortly before, what sets the Roku TV apart from other smart TVs is the Roku operating system. Roku TV works like most other smart TV operating systems.

Perhaps the most notable thing about Roku OS is how it can interact with other ecosystems. Instead of confining yourself to one voice assistant, you can use the Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit. And since Roku has been in the business for a while, things tend to run smoothly. This doesn’t mean nothing is going wrong, but the overall experience is usually pretty consistent.

Roku TVs work with many other smart assistants, unlike some of the other offerings.

Some Roku TVs also tend to support picture standards like Dolby Vision and 4K HDR (depending on the specific model). This means a better picture and the convenience of built-in streaming services.

Roku TV and Samsung TV, Apple TV, Fire TV, WebOS and Google TV

Now that you know what Roku TV is and how it stands out from other smart TV platforms, you may be wondering how it compares to the other options. As a general note, not every streaming app will be available on every platform. Moreover, proprietary smart TV operating systems tend to lag behind the Roku in terms of new apps and features. With that in mind, here’s a quick rundown of other smart TV options compared to the Roku.

Samsung Tizen TV

Samsung Tizen TV

Samsung uses an operating system known as Tizen in its smart TV offerings. This provides a tightly integrated experience with other Samsung and Bixby products, but third-party devices may not perform as consistently.

Samsung TVs tend to have simple user interfaces and a decent selection of apps. It’s not as extensive as the other options, but still diverse enough to include YouTube, Prime Video, and more. You also get Samsung TV Plus which offers free TV and some movies.

However, some people may find Tizen’s simple user interface downright limiting. In addition, quality control can be lumpy at times and the search function is not as robust as on other smart TV operating systems.

Apple TV

Apple TV 4K with a remote on it.

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Apple doesn’t make TVs, so you’ll need to purchase a separate Apple TV to use their Smart TV options – not to be confused with the Apple TV Plus streaming service.

If you are counting on the ease of use and integration that a Smart TV provides, using a set-top box like Apple TV may not be for you. But Apple TV can make sense if you immerse yourself in the Apple ecosystem.

You can choose Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD, depending on what your TV supports and how you want to watch the content. One of the noteworthy features of Apple TV 4K is Apple Arace, which allows you to browse through an extensive library of games.

Fire TV

Product image of the Amazon Fire TV 55 inch Omni Series 4K UHD Smart TV.

Amazon’s offer in the world of smart TV is Fire TV. Like the Roku, you can buy Fire TV Streaming Sticks or TVs with Fire TV built in. As expected, it allows you to use Alexa for voice commands, but not other assistants. As for apps, you can’t access the entire Google Play Store even though Fire TV is based on Android, but you can install additional apps.

Fire TV will likely suit your lifestyle if you’re already a fan of Amazon services. You can also access cloud-based gaming services like Apple TV 4K.

WebOS

Wall mounted LG Web OS TV displaying the Web OS user interface.

Adamya Sharma / The Authority of Android

LG Smart TVs support WebOS. It has an interface that takes up the entire screen and works with Bluetooth accessories such as keyboards. You can also use the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa as a voice assistant.

WebOS allows you to use live apps that let you pause content in one app, then come back later and resume where you left off. This can come in handy if you are multitasking and want to save your progress in a show or movie. However, you don’t have that many applications to choose from in WebOS compared to some of the other options.

Android TV and Google TV

Google TV interface displayed on the TV.

Android TV is fairly visible, but you may not notice it at first. As with Android phones, Android TV manufacturers have their own style, so the experience is less consistent across all bands. This can mean a less-than-smooth experience, but also one that feels more suited to your particular TV.

Android TVs can also stream from Chromecast, which makes it easy to stream content that you may not be able to access using the built-in apps. As expected, the Google Assistant is a voice command option.

Google TV is the latest version of Android TV. It uses algorithms and suggestions to show you new content. You will get access to multiple streaming services including 43 of the most popular ones such as Peacock, Discovery Plus, Crackle and many more.

Should I buy a Roku TV?

Product Image of Hisense H4030F 40 inch 2K Class FHD LED Roku Smart TV.

If you’re considering a Roku TV, it might make sense if you want a fully integrated device with a single tracker remote. The Roku also works with other smart device ecosystems, making it easy to integrate with existing configurations. Plus, the interface is easy to use and you have a decent selection of apps to browse.

The Roku also tends to update its operating system and add new features faster than proprietary smart TVs, which can be handy if you need the latest and greatest.

However, you lose flexibility if you go for a TV with a Roku built-in. You will be tied to Roku services unless you purchase a third-party adapter or set-top box, which makes it difficult to purchase a separate device.

Frequently asked questions about Roku TV

Roku TVs are available in HD, 4K, and 8K resolutions and range from 24 inches upwards.

No, Roku licenses its operating system and name to manufacturers like Onn, Sharp, and others who manufacture the TV itself.

No, Roku TV is the name applied to smart TVs with Roku OS embedded in it.



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