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Roku bakes streaming box into TVs, its channels front and center

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Roku, a maker of streaming devices that send Internet video to TV screens, is now building its service into the TV sets themselves. The Saratoga, Calif., company announced that pre-orders are being taken for Roku-equipped televisions built by Chinese company TCL, and soon Roku TV sets by Hisense will also go on sale.

The company aims to knock cable and satellite aside and place itself – and Internet streaming – as the primary gateway for TV watchers. The co-branded TVs will display the same Roku menu seen by users of the company’s Roku 3 and Roku Streaming Stick devices. That menu includes programming from Netflix, Amazon and hundreds of other channels. The sets will also pull in digital broadcast signals and accommodate game consoles and cable/satellite boxes as well.

The TCL sets, which start at $229 and range from 32-inch to 55-inch models, will begin shipping soon. The Hisense versions are expected to be available by late September. There's no word on whether major TV manufacturers like Samsung and Sony will offer Roku-equipped TVs.

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