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Roku smart home items appear in Walmart stores

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A set of Roku smart light strips as seen in a Walmart store. (Photo by “Negative Source” via Reddit.com, Graphic by The Desk)

Roku is known for its budget range of easy-to-use streaming hardware. Now the company appears to be branching out into the broader smart home market.

This week, a Reddit user named “Negative Space” posted a photo of Roku-branded LED light strips that they claimed were available at a local Walmart store.

The light strips are part of an upcoming brand called Roku Smart Home that will see the streaming platform use white-label versions of Wyze-made items, including Wi-Fi-controlled light bulbs, smart plugs and surveillance cameras.

According to customs records reviewed by The pulpit, Roku began importing several smart home items late last month, including the smart LED light strip and a two-pack of color-compatible A19 smart bulbs. The items were manufactured and shipped by Hualai Technology, a China-based company that manufactures similar items for Wyze and other brands.

Roku’s desire to enter the smart home market wasn’t exactly a secret: Last year, Protocol reporter Janko Rottgers spotted a job posting where Roku was looking to hire for the position of Director of Product Management, Home Technologies. The listing, according to Roettgers, stated that the person hired for the position would “develop [Roku’s] home technology product strategy. Damir Skripic was eventually hired by Amazon for the role.

Roku has two big reasons for wanting to enter the smart home market: Google and Amazon. Both companies offer their own line of streaming media players built into smart home products. Amazon Fire TV users, for example, can view live video from their Ring doorbell cameras or use their Alexa-powered voice remotes to control smart lights, window openers and other Fire TV-enabled items. the smart assistant.

In their job posting, Roku seemed to acknowledge that Amazon and Google’s smart home integration gave them a competitive advantage over Roku.

“While we are well positioned to help shape the future of television – including TV advertising – worldwide, continued success hinges on investing in IoT-driven technologies,” the listing reads. jobs, using the acronym for “Internet of Things”. an industry term for smart home objects.

What’s less clear is how much Roku intends to charge for white-label Wyze items, or whether the market will see additional items coming. The “SE” mark on items spotted at Walmart suggests Roku wanted the products to land on store shelves during the holiday shopping season; For years, Roku has partnered with Walmart on an “SE” line of its streaming devices, which often retail for less than $20.

Roku is currently negotiating with Amazon for dominance in the national streaming TV market. It’s a distant fifth in the global streaming market, behind Samsung’s Tizen, LG’s webOS, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV.