Roku TV has been available in the USA for five years, but it's now coming to the UK and Europe, with the Hisense B7120 range the first to utilise the operating system.
What is Roku TV?
You might know Roku for its streaming devices - such as the Streaming Stick+ - which pop into a TV's spare HDMI port and act as a hub for all things streaming.
Roku TV is similar, in that it provides a portal to all your streaming needs, but it's a TV's main operating system (OS). That means on a set such as the Hisense B7120, Roku TV is doing everything: providing picture controls, channels, access to your devices (say, an Xbox or Blu-ray player), plus all the apps and streaming services you're likely to want.
What's available on Roku TV?
We won't list everything, but one of the great things about Roku TV is that it's frequenctly updated with additional apps (or channels). And because the active user base is 32 million users strong, developers are more likely to produce their apps for the platform.
As a result Roku TV has all the big hitters: Netflix, Amazon, Google Play, Apple TV, BBC iPlayer, All 4, ITV Hub, Rakuten, and so on. Notice the full spread of UK catch-up apps, plus the presence of Apple in there? Roku is well served.
There's also Freeview Play embedded within, which is how Roku TV handles live television. If you plug in a USB stick you can also take benefit from Live TV pause, which allows a 90 minute buffer on any live channel.
What about voice control?
Roku TV supports voice control through its mobile app, which itself acts as a replacement remote control on your iOS or Android device. It's a proprietary system, though, so no Google Play, Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri specifics here. And if you don't have the app open then the included physical remote control can't help you out.
Voice control is useful for search and making specific requests, such as hopping channels or loading an app. There's also search which will load all possible ways to view content, displayed in free, subscription and pay-for order so you don't end up forking out extra when you needn't.
Where can I get Roku TV?
In the USA there are now 11 different brands that ship TVs running Roku TV, making for over 150 models. In the UK we have just the one range: the Hisense B7120. There may well be more later down the line.
The great thing about the B7120 is its affordability. Available exclusively from Argos in 43-inch (£329), 50-inch (379), 55-inch (£479), and 65-inch (£649) formats, each option is a bit of a bargain. Not at all bad for a 4K HDR TV.