Amazon’s Fire TV isn’t the only connected TV platform aiming to reach more screens by way of new partnerships. While Amazon today announced plans to bring Fire TV to more places — including cars and cable boxes — its chief competitor, Roku, shared this morning it’s adding new global brands as licensee partners for Roku TV, to reach a total of 15 global brand partners, and launching a new “Roku TV Ready” program.
Roku says the new TV brands will launch Roku TV models in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the U.K. this year.
In Mexico, new partners include InFocus, Polaroid and Walmart’s ATVIO. Roku already works closely with Walmart, offering the retailer exclusive devices like Roku media players that are only sold at Walmart, as well as smart audio devices, including a soundbar and subwoofer sold under Walmart’s own brand.
In addition, existing Roku partners TCL and Hisense will expand their respective Roku TV lineups later this year.
Roku’s near-term focus with these Roku TV expansions is to capture more market share in North America — plus the (English-speaking) U.K. Amazon, by comparison, announced today more Fire TV Edition brands would arrive this year in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the U.K., plus markets like India, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain.
Roku TV’s licensing program offers OEMs and TV brands a TV hardware reference design and the Roku operating system, which includes features like the customizable home screen, advanced search and support for private listening through the Roku app. 4K Roku TV models also support HDR 10 and some support Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos sound and Full-Array Local Dimming (FALD), a technology that offers better contrast.
“2019 was a tremendous year for Roku TV, with more brands, retailers and consumers choosing the platform than ever before,” noted Mustafa Ozgen, senior vice president and general manager of Account Acquisition at Roku, in a statement about the new Roku TV licensees. “We believe that Roku TV represented more than one in three smart TVs sold in the U.S. during the first nine months of 2019, and the number of our licensees keeps growing.”
In addition, Roku today announced a new “Roku TV Ready” program that will allow consumer electronics companies to label themselves as such so consumers will know the products have been tested and certified to work with Roku TV. That means the devices will be easy to set up, and will include on-screen access to sound setting and volume control with one remote.
The first partners under the new program are TCL North America and Sound United — the parent company to Denon, Polk Audio, Marantz, Definitive Technology and Classé. These companies will feature “Roku TV Ready” products for select brands later this year.