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Best TCL TVs

Updated June 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 16 Models Considered
  • 68 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 74 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best TCL TVs

    Last Updated June 2018

    When Roku burst on to the TV scene, they practically invented a new product category: the streaming media box. Since then, others have tried to copy their successes, but none has come close to matching how simple Roku makes it to watch streaming internet video from the comfort of our own TVs. Now, the streaming box giant has taken a big step toward expand their business model by selling its own TV sets with Roku functionality baked right in.

    Roku’s TV brand, TCL, pairs the Roku streaming platform with impressive hardware technologies like 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR). By unifying the Roku platform and TV into one device, TCL TVs simplify streaming even more – all from a single remote.

    Our mission at BestReviews is to provide our users with honest, easy-to-understand reviews of the products they care most about. 

    Read our TCL TV shopping guide to see what separates TCL TVs from the pack, then check out our recommended models in the grid above to determine which one is right for you.

    TCL TVs are great for streaming music. Roku’s streaming platform supports many of the most popular music streaming services, including Pandora and Spotify.

    What you will (and won’t) find on Roku TVs

    Roku’s streaming platform is unique because it focuses on delivering existing streaming services rather than pushing its own content that’s for sale. Where the Apple TV and Fire TV are designed around a primary goal of selling and renting movies and TV shows, Roku’s top priority is connecting you with your favorite streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Crackle, and Amazon Video. Other streaming boxes support the same services, but those apps typically play a secondary role to the proprietary apps that generate new revenue for Apple, Google, or Amazon.

    It’s a subtle difference, but many users prefer a streaming platform that’s agnostic. Consider the following “bottom lines” when deciding if you’re ready to switch to the Roku platform.

    What you will find on a Roku TCL TV:

    • Access to all major streaming video apps.

    • Access to video rentals and purchases from vendors like the Google Play Store and FandangoNOW.

    • Exclusive streaming channels from around the world.

    • One remote that controls both the TV and the Roku interface.
       

    What you won’t find on a Roku TCL TV:

    • Any iTunes content you’ve purchased in the past.

    • Aggressive advertising for their content.

    • Full integration with a single company’s content and product ecosystem.

    If you buy a 4K TCL TV and plan on using it to watch Netflix, make sure to update your Netflix account. Netflix charges an additional small fee for access to their content in 4K resolution.

    The hottest TV tech: 4K and HDR

    Recently, two new exciting technologies have dramatically changed the quality of TV screens: 4K resolution and HDR.

    TCL TVs offer 4K and HDR on their best (and biggest) sets, and the improved image quality is worth every penny, so be sure to familiarize yourself with both features before you buy.

    • 4K TV sets have four times as many pixels as a typical 1080p HDTV, resulting in an unprecedented level of detail and image quality.
      Whether it’s a vast landscape, an over-the-top explosion, or your favorite animated feature, a 4K TV will deliver a stunning picture.

    • HDR is a feature that allows the TV to display even more colors than normal. It also allows content producers to specify how bright a TV show or movie should be.
      HDR is available on many 4K Netflix and Amazon videos as well as most 4K Blu-ray discs.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    In addition to the video apps included on TCL TVs, you can also download and install unofficial third-party apps. Hundreds of unofficial apps are available that showcase content from around the world, from drone photography channels to international newscasts.

    Must-have TCL TV accessories

    TCL TVs are fantastic smart TVs, and we’ve found the accessories that make the experience even more fun. Be sure to pick up the following add-ons for your TCL TV.

    • Wired headphones

    Some TCL TV remotes include Roku’s “private listening” feature, so you can plug in a set of headphones and “hush” your TV by directing its audio directly to your ears. Private listening is perfect for times when you don’t want to disrupt others in your home or you just want the best sound for your late-night TV binge.

    • External hard drive

    TCL TVs are great with local media, whether that’s your personal photo collection, your favorite MP3s, or even your home movies. To fully unlock the potential of your TCL TV, grab an external hard drive and load it up with your favorite personal content. (It’s worth noting that actual hard-disk and solid-state drives work best; flash-based storage like a thumb drive can be problematic with Rokus.)

    • The Roku smartphone app

    Roku’s app, available for both iOS and Android, is a virtual remote control. It's ideal for times when you lose your remote or for when you’d prefer to use voice commands instead of navigating through menus.

    EXPERT TIP

    Some TCL TVs only have three HDMI ports, which is lower than average. If you plan on connecting multiple devices to your TV, like different video game consoles, count how many HDMI inputs you’ll need, and make sure the model you buy has enough ports for each of them.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    TCL TV prices

    TCL TVs are some of the most affordable sets on the market, which is especially impressive given that they include Roku streaming functionality.

    As you’re shopping for a TCL TV, keep the following two price ranges in mind.

    • $150 to $499

    In this range, expect to see legacy technology perfected: 1080p TVs in smaller sizes. If you’re constrained for space or simply don’t need newer technologies like 4K resolution, a lower-end TCL TV is a perfect choice.

    • $500 to $1,000

    In this range, TCL makes TVs with features that other manufacturers typically reserve for much higher price points, including 4K resolution and HDR. If you need a cutting-edge TV that’s more affordable than all the rest by a mile, grab one of TCL’s premium sets.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    TCL TVs allow you to determine what appears when you first power them on. For example, you can set it to always default to a specific HDMI input, or you can simply set it to the Roku home screen.

    Tips

    • When you first power on your TCL TV, calibrate the video settings. Most TVs look decent with their default settings but don’t truly shine until properly adjusted. Search the web using your TCL TV model number for recommended settings – just remember to always trust your own eyes above all else. Use suggestions from the internet as a starting point, then make adjustments based on your preferences.

    • Set up a Roku account before your TCL TV arrives. The Roku TV setup process is pretty straightforward, but you do have to jump through a few hoops when you first power it on, like creating an account and setting up a credit card for movie and TV purchases and rentals. Set up the account ahead of time so you can get to streaming faster!

    • Hard-wire your TCL TV to your local network and make video buffering a thing of the past. Wired internet connections are faster and more reliable than WiFi connections, and most TCL TVs have a built-in Ethernet port. Whenever possible, connect your TCL TV to your local network using an Ethernet cable.

    • TCL TVs allow you to customize how subtitles and closed captions appear. Within the Settings menu, you can adjust the size, color, and background color of subtitle text based on your preferences.

    • The Roku platform has a built-in Text-to-Speech engine which will read menu items aloud for visually impaired users. To learn more, go to the Roku Settings menu and select “Accessibility.”

    • When you search for shows, movies, or actors on a Roku device, it displays search results from multiple services. This way, you can easily see if a movie is available to stream on Netflix or available to purchase from Amazon Video all at once.

    To learn more about the apps and content you can download to your TCL TV, visit Roku’s website. With a free Roku account, you can select apps from your phone or desktop computer and have them automatically download to your TCL TV.

    FAQ

    Q. Can I still use my Google Chromecast or Apple TV on a TCL TV?
    A.
    Yes. Although TCL TVs include Roku’s operating system built-in, they also feature HDMI ports so you can connect other video devices – including streaming media boxes, video game consoles, or your cable TV box.

    Q. Is there a monthly Roku subscription fee?
    A.
    No. Roku does not charge any subscription fees for using their platform. However, many of the best video and music streaming apps which you can access from Roku’s platform – such as Netflix, Amazon Video, or Hulu Plus – require their own subscription fees.

    Q. Are TCL TV remotes the same as Roku remotes?
    A.
    Yes and no. TCL TV remotes have the same basic design and functionality as their Roku streaming box equivalents, but not all of them offer the same innovative features. For example, some (but not all) TCL TVs come with Roku’s “private listening” remotes – that is, remotes that have headphone jacks that allow users to plug in to keep the TV’s audio track all to themselves.

    Similarly, not all TCL TV remotes have Roku’s “Remote Finder” feature, which helps you locate the remote when it gets misplaced. If you love all of the bells and whistles that Roku’s remotes are famous for, look at TCL’s largest and priciest sets.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Alvina
      Alvina
      Photographer
    • Amos
      Amos
      Director of Photography
    • Branson
      Branson
      Videographer
    • Ciera
      Ciera
      Production Assistant
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jaime
      Jaime
      Writer
    • Kyle
      Kyle
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Vukan
      Vukan
      Post Production Editor