Already a well-known brand in the U.S., Roku plans to bring its smart TV OS talents to other countries on this side of the globe. During its IFA 2019 keynote address, the company unveiled plans to bring a Roku TV into the U.K. during Q4 under the Hisense banner—marking the company’s first European-based TV launch.
“The world is moving to streaming and it’s creating lots of opportunities for TV manufacturers. … We’re excited to bring that to other markets around the world,” Roku Founder and CEO Anthony Wood said during the keynote. “TV OEMs adopt a licensed OS partner with a company like Roku so that they can keep up with the pace of innovation on the software side of the business.”
Pricing details weren’t presented during the keynote (we’ll look to update this later when we stop by their booth), but the TV will ship in sizes up to 65-inches, and they’ll have Roku’s smart TV operating system built right in. These markets are already familiar with the Roku streaming products like the Streaming Stick, but this launch represents the first built-in solution available on this side of the pond.
To that end, Wood used his time on stage to explain the nature of the smart TV OS side of the business and it’s importance to the growing ecosystem of streaming media. Roku, which currently has 30.5 million active accounts and roughly 73 million active streamers to its name, likens itself to the Windows of the PC business or Android for the smartphone world. That’s to say, as Wood puts it, Roku is a purpose-built operating system. The same way Windows won the licensed PC operating system wars and Android became the licensed mobile OS of choice, Roku believes it’s position as an operating system built for TVs gives it a leg up in the smart TV business. Similarly, you don’t see many—if any—Windows phone anymore, and Android TVs haven’t really caught on.
Roku's growth as a streaming platform has far outpaced all other options.
“We’ve designed [Roku TV] with the entire TV ecosystem in mind,” Wood said. Leveraging hires from the TV manufacturing space, the platform was built with manufacturers, retailers, content providers, and advertisers all in mind. On the manufacturing side, Wood said, the Roku TV platform is designed to require only low-cost materials and hardware in order to operate smoothly, giving makers the opportunity to maximize on those thinning TV margins. That also benefits the retail community, where Roku is also helping with promotional materials that educate consumers on the platform. And their TV OS is meant to give content providers and advertisers an interface that makes finding and promoting content, and serving ads, simpler and more effective.
That formula has helped the company become the number-one smart TV OS in the U.S. The brand’s platform is available through more than 10 TV manufacturing partners like Hisense and TCL. And Wood’s data estimates that one out of every three smart TVs sold are by his company.
So, as they continue down their path towards “powering every TV in the world and connecting the entire ecosystem,” Roku believes the time is right to start spreading the good word—and their products—to other corners of the globe.