It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that media-streaming set-top boxes are an endangered species. With the advent of “smart,” app-running, internet-connected TVs a few years ago, the writing has been on the wall for the likes of Roku and Apple TV.
Rumours about Apple producing its own television reached fever pitch shortly after Steve Jobs’ passing, with the company founder telling his biographer that he had finally “cracked” television. Of course, it’s been a few years now and we’re still waiting.
Roku has beaten Apple to the punch by combining with a pair of lesser-known Chinese TV manufacturers – at least to North Americans – in the form of TCL and Hisense to indeed produce a pair of integrated smart TVs. After checking out a demo here at the Consumer Electronics Show, I got the sense that Roku TV may very well be the first smart television whose actual smart functions aren’t all that dumb. Read the rest of this entry »