Have you ever wondered why Roku TVs are so cheap compared to other smart TVs?
The truth is, that Roku and the companies that make Roku TVs have a secret strategy that allows them to price their products competitively.
You’re probably thinking there must be a catch, right? How can a 4K smart TV with thousands of streaming channels be so affordable?
Well, the real reason Roku TVs are so cheap has to do with how Roku makes money and how they partner with TV manufacturers.
While other smart TV platforms focus on profiting from their hardware, Roku takes a different approach.
They’ve built their business model around earning money from advertising and content deals instead of marking up the TVs themselves.
- Introduction to Roku TVs
- 1. Minimal Hardware Costs Keep Prices Low
- 2. Roku OS is Built Cheaper
- 3. Advertising Brings in Steady Revenue for Roku
- 4. User Data Allows Targeted
- 5. Licensing Fees From Content Partners
- 6. Poor Speakers Quality
- 7. The Roku Channel and Original Content
- Roku TV Buying Guide
Introduction to Roku TVs
Roku TVs offer premium features at budget prices. How do they do it?
Roku TVs are manufactured by brands like TCL, Hisense, Sharp and others. These brands are able to produce TVs very efficiently, keeping costs low.
They pass on the savings to you in the form of affordable, feature-packed TVs.
Roku TVs run on the Roku OS, Roku’s streaming platform which provides access to over 500,000 movies and TV episodes.
Roku does not charge TV makers to license their OS and streaming platform. They make money through ads and content partnerships instead.
This allows them to offer the platform to manufacturers at no cost, which in turn allows those brands to sell you a smart TV at a lower price.
1. Minimal Hardware Costs Keep Prices Low
Roku TVs are incredibly affordable, but how can they offer so much for so little? Two words: minimal hardware.
Roku smart TVs ditch expensive components like built-in cable tuners and optical drives in favor of streaming capabilities, allowing them to pass the savings onto you.
Roku TVs are designed specifically for streaming, so they don’t require an antenna or coaxial input to access live TV.
Instead, they utilize streaming services to deliver content over Wi-Fi. This streamlined hardware reduces manufacturing costs significantly.
Roku TVs also lack components like DVD or Blu-ray players, keeping prices low.
Blu-ray players, gaming consoles and other devices, may be limiting. The fewer inputs also help keep costs down.
Roku TVs run Roku’s own user-friendly smart TV operating system, built to emphasize streaming apps and services.
The platform is lightweight, running smoothly even on budget hardware.
Roku frequently updates its OS to improve performance, add new features, and patch any security issues.
Because Roku TVs utilize third-party streaming services for content, they don’t require expensive licensing deals or hardware to access cable TV lineups.
Roku has partnerships with over 5,000 streaming channels, offering a wide range of free and paid options for movies, TV shows, news, sports, music, and more.
With minimal components, an affordable yet capable operating system, and a focus on streaming over traditional live TV.
Roku TVs strip out everything unnecessary to provide a great smart TV experience at a lower cost.
If streaming is your main source of entertainment, a Roku TV could save you hundreds compared to a traditional smart TV.
For budget-friendly streaming, Roku TVs simply can’t be beat.
Roku TVs typically offer a basic set of inputs a few HDMI ports, USB, composite, etc.
They don’t provide a ton of HDMI inputs for connecting lots of external devices.
For most streaming and casual use, the number of ports is sufficient but for those looking to connect surround sound systems.
2. Roku OS is Built Cheaper
The Roku operating system is built specifically for streaming, keeping costs down.
Unlike other smart TVs that run general-purpose operating systems, Roku TVs run Roku OS, an OS optimized for streaming. This single-purpose design means:
Less processing power needed
Roku OS doesn’t need as much processing power or memory to run smoothly. It’s designed to do one thing stream content.
So it doesn’t require expensive components found in regular smart TVs. Lower-end components and less memory keep costs down significantly.
No licensing fees
Roku OS is developed in-house, so Roku doesn’t have to pay licensing fees to third parties.
Other TV makers pay to license operating systems like Android TV, webOS or Tizen.
By using their own proprietary software, Roku avoids those added costs.
Basic features only
The Roku OS is focused on streaming essentials. It doesn’t include many of the smart features found on regular smart TVs like web browsing, gaming or live TV integration.
By leaving out additional functionality, Roku reduces software complexity and the need for more advanced components again keeping costs down.
Built for simplicity
There are large icons and text on Roku OS that make navigating on the big screen easy. But underneath is the simple design.
it’s a lightweight OS that doesn’t require lots of processing power or memory to run smoothly.
The simple, streamlined software and minimal hardware needs translate into major cost savings that Roku is able to pass onto customers through their affordable TVs.
In summary, Roku TVs can be budget-friendly thanks to Roku’s proprietary streaming software, lower-end components, lack of licensing fees, ad revenue model and focus on essential functionality.
All of these factors allow Roku to cut costs at every turn and offer smart TVs at prices that are hard to beat.
3. Advertising Brings in Steady Revenue for Roku
Roku makes the majority of its money through advertising on its streaming platform.
As more people use Roku to stream content, the more valuable Roku’s advertising space becomes to companies wanting to promote their services or products.
Roku has access to data about what you watch, so they can serve up targeted ads based on your viewing habits and interests.
If you frequently watch home renovation shows, you’ll probably see ads for home improvement stores or real estate companies.
The ads may promote a local business in your area based on your location.
Roku’s ability to target ads to specific audiences allows them to charge higher rates to advertisers.
Companies will pay more for ads that are tailored to potential customers who are likely interested in their product or service.
Roku makes money through revenue-sharing agreements with advertisers based on the number of ads shown and viewer engagement.
In addition to ads that run during streaming content, Roku also offers ad-supported live TV channels and on-demand options.
The Roku Channel features live news, sports, movies, and TV shows with commercial breaks.
Roku gets paid for placing ads on these ad-supported streaming channels.
The more people who use these free streaming options, the more ad revenue Roku generates.
Some privacy advocates argue that Roku collects too much data about users and their viewing habits in order to serve targeted ads.
However, Roku claims they do not share personal information with advertisers, and users can adjust privacy settings to limit ad personalization and data collection.
Despite privacy concerns, Roku’s ad-based business model has proven very profitable and allowed it to offer affordable streaming devices and content.
Roku’s steady advertising income, especially from targeted ads and ad-supported streaming content, allows them to keep device and subscription costs low for customers.
While advertising may be annoying to some, it’s really what makes Roku’s cheap streaming possible.
Without ads, Roku products would likely cost significantly more.
4. User Data Allows Targeted
Roku makes money from its streaming media players and Roku TVs in a few clever ways.
One of the biggest is through targeted advertising.
While the hardware itself is very affordable, Roku collects data about what you watch to serve you tailored ads.
User Data Allows Targeted Valuable Ads
When you set up your Roku device, you’re asked to provide some personal information like your age, location, and interests.
Roku then tracks what content you watch the shows, movies, channels, etc.
This viewing data, combined with the info you provided upfront, allows Roku to gain useful insights into you as a user.
They can then sell highly targeted ads that are matched to your preferences and viewing habits.
Advertisers will pay a premium for these targeted ads, especially around popular shows and events.
Roku makes money by selling ad space and user data. They split the revenue with content providers and channel partners.
The more you use your Roku, the more data they collect about your tastes and the more valuable their ads become.
It’s really a win you get an affordable streaming device and content, Roku and its partners earn money from advertising.
While some may find the data collection concerning, Roku does allow you to opt out of personalized ads if you prefer.
You can also limit ad tracking and turn off viewing data collection in your Roku account settings.
Roku isn’t the only one capitalizing on user data for advertising.
Smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Vizio and others employ similar strategies.
Streaming services like Hulu and YouTube also use your info to serve up targeted ads.
Data collection and privacy are ongoing issues in the streaming media and smart device space that likely won’t be resolved anytime soon.
For many, the trade-off of sharing some viewing info in exchange for lower-cost hardware and content is reasonable.
But if data privacy is a top concern, you may want to consider other options.
Roku does aim to be transparent in how they collect and share your data, but ultimately you have to decide what level of tracking you’re comfortable with.
5. Licensing Fees From Content Partners
Roku makes money from its streaming devices in a few clever ways.
One of the biggest is through licensing fees from the many content providers on their platform.
Streaming Content Deals
Roku has deals in place with pretty much all the major streaming services Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, YouTube TV, and more.
For the privilege of being featured on Roku’s platform and having millions of potential new subscribers discover them, these companies pay Roku a licensing fee.
The specifics of these deals aren’t public, but you can bet that the more popular a service is, especially if it’s highlighted prominently on the home screen, the more they’re paying.
Roku likely charges higher fees for premium placement, like being featured on the home screen or having a dedicated channel button on the remote.
They may also take a small cut of subscription fees generated from their platform.
These types of partnership deals are hugely profitable for Roku.
As the streaming landscape has exploded, content providers are eager to get in front of Roku’s audience, which gives Roku a lot of leverage to negotiate good deals.
And with over 50 million active accounts, the potential audience is massive.
For you as a user, these deals mean you have access to a ton of great streaming options all in one place.
You don’t have to switch between separate devices for different services.
Roku aggregates everything together on its easy-to-use platform.
The downside is that Roku’s interface can sometimes feel cluttered, with so many channels and options vying for your attention.
But overall, their vast content selection, simple navigation, and affordability are why Roku TVs have become so popular.
By bringing in licensing fees from content partners, Roku has found a way to keep costs low while still turning a profit.
6. Poor Speakers Quality
The speakers of Roku TV are not that good quality. The sound of their speakers is basic.
If you want to enjoy good speakers, you can connect other speakers with Roku TV.
By connecting another speaker, you can enjoy good sound.
7. The Roku Channel and Original Content
The Roku Channel, Roku’s own streaming channel, offers thousands of free movies, TV shows, and more.
It really adds value for Roku owners and is a big reason why Roku TVs and streaming devices can be so affordable.
A huge library of free content
The Roku Channel gives you access to a massive collection of free content, including movies, TV shows, live news, kid’s shows, and viral videos.
We’re talking thousands of choices from major studios like Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), and Sony Pictures.
You’ll find everything from classic hits to recent blockbusters.
Not only does Roku invest in licensing all this content for their channel, but they also invest heavily in creating their own original shows and movies exclusively for The Roku Channel.
Some of their popular original series include ‘Most Dangerous Game’ starring Liam Hemsworth, ‘Cipher’ an original sci-fi film, and a reboot of the classic kids show ‘The Magic School Bus.’
It’s Free, But There are Ads
While The Roku Channel is free to access, the content is ad-supported.
You’ll see commercials while watching shows and movies, similar to regular broadcast TV.
The ads are how Roku is able to keep The Roku Channel free and invest in more content.
If ads really bother you, you do have the option to pay for an ad-free subscription to The Roku Channel for $9.99/month.
Roku TVs Pros:
|1. Extensive Content Library
|Access to a wide range of streaming channels and apps.
|2. User-Friendly Interface
|Intuitive interface for easy navigation and setup.
|3. Affordable Options
|Various price points to fit different budgets.
|4. Cross-Platform Search
|Universal search function simplifies content discovery.
|5. Regular Updates
|Software updates to improve performance and features.
Roku TVs Cons:
|1. Limited Gaming Capabilities
|Not as powerful for gaming as dedicated game consoles.
|2. No Native iTunes Support
|iTunes content may require casting from another device.
|3. Voice Remote Limitations
|Voice recognition may not always be accurate.
|4. Some Apps May Be Missing
|Not all streaming services may be available on Roku.
|5. Less Customization
|Less flexible in terms of interface customization.
Roku TV Buying Guide
So you’ve decided to buy a Roku TV, but you’re not sure which one is right for you. There are a few things to consider to find your perfect match.
Roku TVs come in a range of sizes to suit any space. For a small room like a bedroom or office, a 32 to 43-inch TV should work great. Larger living rooms will want a 50-inch or bigger.
Keep in mind that 4K resolution is best viewed on TVs 55 inches and up. Think about how far you sit from the TV and choose a size that will give you an immersive experience without being too big.
Most new Roku TVs are 4K, meaning they have four times the resolution of regular HD. 4K provides a lifelike, vivid picture with intense detail.
If you do a lot of gaming or watch action/adventure movies, 4K is highly recommended.
For casual viewing or if you’re on a budget, a 1080p full HD model will still look good.
All Roku TVs provide access to the Roku Channel Store with over 500,000 movies and TV episodes, as well as live news and sports.
The Roku OS is very user-friendly, with an easy on-screen menu to explore channels and streaming services.
Some higher-end Roku TVs offer voice control through the Roku mobile app and voice remotes to quickly search for content.
Certain models also have built-in Bluetooth for private listening on wireless headphones.
You can find a 32-inch Roku HD TV for under $200 up to a 65-inch 4K Roku TV for $500 or more. In general, you’ll pay:
- $200-$350 for a 32 to 43-inch 1080p HD Roku TV
- $350-$500 for a 50 to 55-inch 4K Roku TV
- $500-$1000 for a 65-inch or larger 4K Roku TV with premium features
Roku TVs offer a lot of value for the money with their intuitive smart platform and access to so much free and paid streaming content.
Use this guide to determine the right size, resolution, features, and price for you. Happy streaming!
So there you have it, the reasons why Roku TVs seem almost too good to be true.
By focusing on software over hardware and keeping costs down, Roku delivers a streaming experience that punches well above its weight class.
You get a vast selection of content, an intuitive interface, and performance that satisfies without emptying your wallet.
While other smart TV platforms try to wow you with needless features.
Roku keeps it simple and helps you discover great entertainment at a price that can’t be beaten.
Next time you’re in the market for an affordable smart TV, don’t overlook Roku your wallet will thank you.
What differentiates Roku TVs from smart TVs? The main distinction between a Roku TV and a smart TV is that a Roku TV uses technology developed by the Roku streaming media player company.
Roku can be used without an internet connection, but there are some restrictions on the content you can watch. A live internet connection is necessary for some websites, including Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, to stream content.
Any Roku player can be linked to a 4K UHD or HDR-capable display because all Roku streaming devices are compatible with any television that has an HDMI port. However, you will need a compatible Roku streaming player and a television that supports 4K UHD or HDR in order to stream movies and TV shows in these formats.
Netflix is free to download, but you must have a Netflix subscription to stream content.