The battle for growth in the smart TV market continues to heat up, with 2022 expected to be a key tipping point. At this point, it’s up to smart TVs to determine how the market will go, and it seems Roku is going all-in on that, with plans to make its own TVs.

According to a report from Business Insider, Roku has plans to start making its own TVs. This likely wouldn’t take the form of Roku itself manufacturing TVs from scratch, but rather sourcing another brand. Amazon made a similar move last year with its “Omni” TVs that run on top of Fire TV.

Roku has apparently run focus groups that “showed different models, feature sets and names, sizes, [and] price points” according to one source. Another executive at Roku said that “the analysis has been done. They recognized that owning the last bit of branding made a lot of sense, particularly if you are going into content.” The executive said that Roku has been working on this initiative for over a year.

This news came out just after Roku’s latest earnings call, which saw the company’s stock dip by 25% on the back of missing revenue goals for the quarter, with no signs of things easing up in the first quarter. Roku also just stripped support for non-certified channels (apps distributed outside of the Roku store).

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the market, Google has been pushing its new Google TV on smart TVs. The biggest push came with the help of TCL, which adopted Android TV and now Google TV on its entire US lineup, sold right alongside Roku models. Sony has also kept up with Google TV, and Hisense signed on for its 2022 lineup. In another recent report, Google apparently was aggressive in negotiations with smart TV partners, paying more than Roku per unit.

However, since Google doesn’t make its own TVs, the company is at the mercy of its partners when it comes to pricing and positioning. Roku selling its own branded TVs would eliminate those limitations, so it should be interesting to see how things play out.

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Ben Schoon

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