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Roku announces 4K TV and HDR plans

Roku has announced the launch of its first 4K smart TV set, as well as the release of an HDR reference design for its TV partners.

If you live outside the US, you may not be aware that Roku has made quite a success of embedding its smart TV platform directly into TV sets in its home country. In fact, Roku claims to have eight percent of the US smart TV market.  

Most notably, Roku has teamed up with fast-growing Chinese manufacturer TCL to produce these self-contained smart TV sets.

Now it’s been confirmed that there’s a new Roku/TCL product on the way, and it’s all about 4K. Starting this spring, US customers will be able to buy the first 4K UHD Roku TVs. Additional partners will be supplying 4K Roku TVs later in the year.

As eagle-eyed readers will have noted, this announcement follows up on the launch late last year of the Roku 4 streaming box, which adds 4K capabilities.

Like the Roku 4, the new 4K Roku TV range will feature a channel dedicated to surfacing 4K content. Which, let’s face it, is still relatively thin on the ground.

Perhaps more interesting to those of us outside the US is the announcement that Roku has released a reference TV design so that its TV partners can incorporate HDR technology into future sets. HDR is the key buzzword for new TVs in 2016, with the technology set to increase contrast and colour range dramatically.

Related: HDR TV: What is it and should you care?

In particular, Roku is going with Dolby Vision, which is arguably the most effective TV HDR implementation to date.

Even more than 4K, there’s not a lot of content that takes advantage of HDR as yet. But Roku’s support adds extra weight to the feeling that this particular TV tech acronym is going to stick.

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