With streaming dongles and set top boxes gaining in popularity, many TV makers are baking these functions in to their sets.
Electronics manufacturer Sharp and set top box maker Roku have announced a partnership that will put Roku’s operating system on TV sets made by Sharp without the need for a set top box or HDMI stick. While long a popular add-on, especially for cord-cutters, Roku will now begin powering smart TVs. Given the small size, affordable price, and popularity of streaming sticks like Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV stick, or Roku’s own device, television manufacturers are finding it easier than ever to build these functions right in. While smart TVs were once expensive and uncommon, the industry is quickly embracing web-delivered media, and the result is more and more television sets including at least some “smart” features, like web connectivity and streaming apps. In a few years, there will likely be little reason to make and sell a television that does not connect to the web. As streaming sticks have shown, such features cost little (Chromecast retails for $35) and add almost nothing to the size or weight of the device. Since so many of them end up with dongles sticking out of their HDMI ports anyway, it only makes sense to bake those features in.