Within the past several years, TCL has been the go-to budget TV brand for millions of Americans. Inch for inch, and often selling for under a grand, its picture quality and design really can’t be beat.
However, it isn’t only about the quality of the QLED technology-driven panel, which has garnered plenty of rave reviews. Most TCL TV offerings in the United States also come with Roku TV built-in, which, along with Android TV and LG’s webOS, is considered one of the top smart TV platforms out on the market right now.
Such praises are indeed deserved. Roku TV boasts an incredibly intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it a breeze to quickly find what you want to watch for family movie night. Toggling between the numerous apps and devices is also a snap, as you don’t have to physically deal with all of the buttons and switches of separate devices.
The streaming offerings on Roku are plentiful, and if a new app hits the market, you can bet that Roku will know that and you’ll quickly have access to it. With frequent updates and feature improvements, it seems that Roku is always looking out for your TV-watching needs.
On some TCL models, the simple-looking Roku remote comes with built-in voice control, although it isn’t as robust as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. But it holds its own for general searches, app launching and switching inputs. If the TV is off, you can use a voice command to quickly turn the TV on and launch the desired app.
Apparently, many Americans agree that Roku is the streaming platform to be on. As more people spent time at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Roku said that it gained 2.9 million incremental active accounts this quarter, pushing the total number to 39.8 million. This was a 37 percent increase year-over-year.
Roku also saw streaming hours skyrocket by 1.6 billion, bringing it to a record-setting 13.2 billion hours, a 49 percent increase year-over-year. Roku had previously reported that users spent 11.7 billion hours streaming in the fourth quarter.
“Consumers are turning to Roku now more than ever. As the leading TV streaming platform in the U.S., Roku is proud to provide easy access to live news, free movies and TV, great paid content, and helpful programming for individuals and families who are sheltering at home,” Roku CEO Anthony Wood said in a statement.
Earlier in the first quarter, Roku announced that it had completed rolling out its “Are you still watching” feature, which automatically exits video playback after a period of user inactivity. Initially, analysts expected this feature to flatten growth, but it was more than offset by increased viewership by those sheltering in place.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. He currently resides in Minneapolis.