Roku TV vs Smart TV: What’s the difference between the two TVs?

Smart TVs enable cord-cutters to stream movies and TV shows without connecting their TV set to a separate streaming device. Roku TV is a form of smart TV that uses technology from streaming media manufacturer Roku. Both are useful for users looking to watch live TV, stream on-demand movies and shows, and more. But what are the differences between the two? We’ll cover that here.

What are Smart TVs?

A smart TV is any TV set that can be connected to the Internet and features a built-in operating system (OS), similar to the OS users are accustomed to on their mobile devices. This internet connectivity and OS setup enable smart TV users to download apps for their favorite streaming services to watch live TV and stream movies, music, and TV shows on-demand.

How are Roku TVs different from smart TVs?

The main difference between Roku TV vs. smart TV is that Roku TVs use technology from streaming media player manufacturer Roku. Roku provides its streaming technology and user-friendly OS to TV manufacturers like Element, Hisense, Hitachi, Magnavox, JVC, RCA, Sharp, and TCL. 

This enables cord-cutters to get internet-connected TV sets at a lower price point while still getting a high-quality product with a simple to use interface. Roku-powered smart TVs use the same OS platform as its streaming media players, which enables users to download the same streaming apps and channels. 

Building the Roku functionality directly into a TV means that there’s no longer a requirement to plug a Roku device into the TV to stream movies and TV shows. Roku TV users simply turn on their TV set, connect it to their Wi-Fi network, and quickly launch content through apps and channels for their favorite streaming services. 

Most new Roku TVs enable users to watch content in up to 4K, which is the highest video quality currently available for streaming, and some enable Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR). 

How much do Roku smart TVs cost versus smart TVs?

Roku vs. smart TV price points differ based on the size and type of TV set being purchased, but Roku’s devices tend to be cheaper than other smart TVs.

Roku’s range of smart TVs are available for as little as $118 for its standard 32-inch TCL Roku TV. Models of Roku TV are available for any budget up to $1,999 for its high-end 75-inch 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) TCL device. The devices are available at different price points with different online retailers, such as Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart.

Other smart TV models, which may be powered by Amazon Fire TV or built by manufacturers like Samsung and Sony, tend to be more expensive. A basic 32-inch smart TV is available for around $200, while low- to mid-range Samsung smart TVs are available for around $400 and $600. 

However, prices for more advanced smart TVs can get much higher. For example, Samsung’s latest 8K TV, the 55-inch or 65-inch Q700T, begins at $2,700, while its flagship 8K device, the Q950TS, has an 82-inch model retailing at $13,000.

The final cut

Roku TV provides a range of high-quality yet affordable smart TVs that enable cord-cutters to watch their favorite streaming services directly through their TV set. The devices feature Roku’s technology and OS, which tends to make them more affordable than other smart TVs on the market.


What is Roku?

Roku is a manufacturer of streaming devices. It typically creates media streaming players that enable cord-cutters to watch their favorite streaming services by connecting the device to their TV using an HDMI cable. However, it also provides its technology to TV manufacturers, which makes smart TV sets more affordable.

What is a smart TV?

A smart TV is a TV set that connects to the Internet. It features an operating system that enables users to download apps for their favorite streaming services in the same way they do on their mobile devices. This enables users to stream live TV, watch movies and TV shows on-demand, and stream music.

What screen resolution do smart TVs provide?

New smart TVs from the likes of Roku TV typically support up to 4K, which is the highest video resolution available for streaming content. However, smart TVs are available in three levels of screen resolution. These are:

  • 1080p or Full High Definition (FHD): 1080p is the screen resolution most commonly referred to as HD. The screen resolution is used by standard HD TVs and offers 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
  • 4K or UHD: New smart TVs typically provide 4K resolution, which offers 4 times as many pixels and 4 times better video quality than standard HD. It offers 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, which makes the video quality more realistic and features more vivid colors.
  • 8K or Full UHD (FUHD): This is the highest level of video quality currently available in smart TV technology. Its resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 pixels offers 4 times the pixels and detail than that of a 4K TV. However, content can’t yet be streamed in 8K video.

What kind of technology do smart TVs offer?

Smart TVs are packed with technology that enhances the viewing experience and the clarity of picture quality. Some of the most common technology includes:

  • Liquid-crystal display (LCD): LCD technology is used to power smart TVs, as well as mobile devices and smartwatches. An LCD display features millions of pixels that turn on and off dozens of times per second, which enables a backlight to create a bright image. 
  • Light-emitting diode (LED): LEDs create the light that’s emitted by LDC TVs, and the more LED lights a TV has, the brighter it can be.
  • Mini-LED: Mini-LED is a new LCD backlight approach that shrinks the size of LED lights, enabling a TV set to contain more of them. This enables the TV panel to be much thinner and offers greater brightness and contrast.
  • Organic LED: OLED displays emit their own LEDs, which means the TV set doesn’t require an LED backlight as its source of lights. They create a vast contrast between dark and light colors, which enhances the viewing experience.
  • Quantum Dot LED (QLED): A QLED TV has an LCD screen that features a quantum dot film layer, which is lit with LEDs. This enables the smart TV to create more accurate primary colors – blue, green, and red – which results in a more realistic and vibrant image.

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