There’s one more choice coming for smart TV operating systems this year, provided you land on a TV made by TCL, as Roku rocks up.
Australians have an assortment of TVs and smart TV operating systems to choose from already, though you mightn’t realise it until you check the spec list of what’s out there. LG offers WebOS, Samsung has Tizen, Hisense uses VIDAA U, and pretty much everything else offers a variation of Android, but that mightn’t be all that’s available.
While you can replace any smart TV operating system with a smart TV accessory, such as the Chromecast with Google TV or an Apple TV box, if you’re looking for a smart TV that isn’t one of the aforementioned options, you might want to turn your attention to what TCL is releasing this year in Australia with Roku on board.
Big in America but less known here, Roku is another of the smart TV players, one Australia hasn’t seen much of. You can technically find a Roku in the Telstra TV smart box, but it’s one where most of the features have been cut or changed, controlled by Telstra instead.
However that won’t apparently be the case with a couple of new TVs from TCL, coming in the aptly named TCL Roku TVs. They’ll arrive in two sizes, 55 and 65 inches, and while they won’t see high-end technologies like OLED or Mini-LED, the focus is more on being economical, it seems.
Priced from $699, TCL’s Roku TVs see a 4K screen with support for Dolby Vision HDR, Apple AirPlay, Google Assistant Amazon Alexa, HDMI 2.1 with eARC, 802.11ac WiFi 5, and an app to control the TV using your phone. There’s also an 8-star energy rating for the 65 inch screen and 7-star for the smaller 55, though the price and support for Roku are the main focuses here, especially since the latter hasn’t officially existed in Australia up until this point.
“When considering purchasing a new TV, the operating system it ships with is just as important as its screen size, frame rate, and resolution,” said Jason Carrick, General Manager of Sales for TCL Australia.
“TCL Roku TV sets combine TCL’s sophisticated hardware with Roku’s intelligent software that brings compelling content sources together,” he said. “Consumers have been asking us for years to launch Roku in Australia, so we are very excited to announce this new partnership.”
While the inclusion of Roku is intriguing, we’re particularly interested to find out whether one of Roku’s specific titles will be found on its Australian screens. Over in the US, Roku has launched “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” on its app, but outside of Roku, there’s no way to watch the film beyond paying attention to Weird Al’s very specifically phrased words.
Roku's working on it. In the meantime there's VPN (Very Probably No) way to watch it legally. I'm sure you have a TORRENT of other questions, but I have to move along, sorry.
— Al Yankovic (@alyankovic) November 5, 2022
Given that its site tends to send Australian traffic away from the official film page, our guess is Aussies with a TCL Roku TV won’t have the movie made available to them, but we’re checking with Roku and TCL to find out if these screens are a way to watch the film, albeit an expensive one.
For anyone else curious, the TCL Roku TVs are set to arrive online and in stores this month, priced at $699 for the 55 inch and $899 for the 65 inch model.