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Roku Pro Series TVs finally go after the high(er) end, start at $899

A handout picture of the Roku Pro Series television.

Roku TVs have been extremely popular for years, mostly because of their relatively low price but also because they were plenty good at that price. Good, but not great. Today, Roku takes the wraps off the previously-announced Roku Pro Series of smart television, available at Best Buy stores and online at Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy.

To get into that “premium” discussion, the Roku Pro Series sets employ 4K quantum dot-infused panels with mini-LED backlighting and a 120Hz response time. In other words, it’ll look better (mini-LED allows for more local dimming zones, which means better colors and blacks), and allow for smoother motion. That refresh rate (with variable rate refresh) is important to gamers, too, and Roku has also thrown in AMD FreeSync Premium Pro and auto low latency mode.

“We’ve invested years in making the picture great for the shows and movies you’re watching — and now we’ve added the simplicity of automation,” Chris Larson, vice president of retail strategy for Roku, said in a press release. “Our Pro Series TVs not only look and sound beautiful; they also give our customers the best possible viewing experience, no matter what they’re watching.”

We’ll have to wait and see how the Roku Pro Series stands up to other highly anticipated smart TVs coming out this year, including the Hisense U8N and TCL QM8, in terms of price and performance. It’ll have tough competition, for sure.

Speaking of price, the Roku Pro Series will definitely be seen as expensive compared to the lower-end Roku TVs we’ve used for years. (Though we’d argue not horribly so.) There are three sizes available. The 55-inch model retails for $899, the 65-inch model retails for $1,199, and the 75-inch model costs $1,699.

While the Roku Pro Series obviously has “pro” in the name, it wouldn’t be fair to say that these sets aren’t geared toward the average consumer or non-TV enthusiast. Roku has plenty of tricks up its sleeve to help keep these sets more consumer-friendly.

Roku Smart Picture can automatically apply what it thinks is the best mode for you to watch.
Roku Smart Picture can automatically apply what it thinks is the best mode for you to watch. Roku

That starts with a new processor and neural processing unit (we’ve seen a big push from NPUs this year as pretty much all the manufacturers employ more AI in their software) that powers Roku Smart Picture to adjust picture settings automatically. You can still tweak things yourself if you want, but Roku says only 9% of smart TV owners often change the picture settings. Thus, Roku Smart Picture. And it goes even further with Smart Picture Max, which tweaks the picture scene by scene instead of one blanket setting over everything you’re watching. The Roku Pro Series also can automatically adjust the brightness.

Roku says that any Roku-branded TV purchased in 2024 will have Smart Picture enabled by default. Older TVs that receive it via a software update will need to enable the feature manually.

There are more smarts on the audio side, too, with Roku Soundstage Audio taking advantage of the side-firing speakers (which support Dolby Atmos). You can also always pair things up with a Roku Wireless Soundbar or Roku Wireless Speakers — or any other audio setup, for that matter.

There’s a new remote control included with the Roku Pro Series, too. The second-edition Roku Voice Remote Pro (which is available separately for other TVs for $29) includes a huge improvement with backlit buttons. The battery also has 50% greater capacity and is USB-C rechargeable. The buttons have changed a little, with a Live TV button taking you straight to all the free content available on Roku. There’s also a Quick Launch button to enable shortcuts, hands-free voice commands, and the all-important remoter finder capability.

You’ll find changes on the user experience side, too. (Though these are mostly coming to all modern Roku devices via software updates.) The big one is Backdrops, which allows for a more sophisticated background experience on Roku with a major catalog of popular artwork. Or you can use your own pictures.

“We want our platform to be relevant to how you watch TV, whether you purchased a device today or years ago,” Preston Smalley, vice president of viewer product at Roku, said in the press release. “With personalized Backdrops to suit your mood, Smart Picture for crystal-clear visuals, and better ways to help decide what to watch, we’re setting a new standard for streaming excellence. This is the future of TV, tailored just for you by Roku.”

If you’re a fan of the “Roku City” background, though, it’s getting a refresh, too. While it still looks the same, you’ll find cars driving down the street, laden with movie and TV Easter eggs.

Roku will also integrate IMDB ratings to help you decide what to watch, and you’ll find trailers and updated Save Lists.

All in all, good stuff is coming from Roku this year. The Roku Pro Series sets are available now and the Roku OS 13 software updates will push out to older devices in the coming months.

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