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1,600 ‘Counterfeit Roku Remotes’ Seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection

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Roku player logo

1,600 Roku remotes were recently seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), citing intellectual property rights violations.

Roku is one of the more popular streaming platforms with the company’s operating system available via first-party Roku players, as well as included as the operating system on a variety of TV sets powered by Roku OS. As a result, the company has built up quite a user base with Roku confirming that at the end of 2019, it had just under 37 million active accounts.

In announcing the haul, CBP stated that the “1,600 television remotes branded with the popular Roku trademark” had been seized on April 19 in Pittsburgh.

Fake Roku Remotes
Source: CBP

The announcement also took the opportunity to highlight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and how more people are currently using steaming services more often, following the activation of stay-at-home orders across the country.

Presumably suggesting that there is likely to be a higher level of demand for a product like this right now than at other times.

$80,000 worth of Roku remotes, according to CBP

According to the announcement, “the remotes would have had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $80,000,” if authentic. As they were not authentic, that was evidently not the value of the haul. Furthermore, it remains to be seen exactly how CBP has come to that valuation, considering the most expensive remote that Roku currently sells through its online store is the enhanced voice remote, priced at $29.99.

While the announcement did not specify which models were counterfeited, one of the images provided by CBP does provide a closer look at some of the remotes. One of which appears to be a TCL Roku TV remote.

Fake Roku Remotes
Source: CBP

Both the remotes shown in the image appear to be more reminiscence of the Roku TV voice remote and the standard voice remote, respectively, and equipped with Roku’s typical shortcut buttons. For example, the TCL-branded remote’s buttons include shortcuts for Netflix, Sling, Hulu and DIRECTV NOW. The latter of which has since been rebranded as AT&T TV NOW.

Assuming these are the voice remotes, then the official versions typically sell through Roku for $19.99 each. With similar-styled third-party versions commonly on sale via internet retailers, including Amazon, for less than $10.

Source: CBP

John Finn

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