Best RCA Smart TVs

Updated September 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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HOW WE TESTED

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Consumers
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Buying guide for Best RCA smart TVs

Shopping for a new TV can be complicated and confusing. Do you want organic or quantum-dot display technology? HD, Full HD, or UHD resolution? There are also refresh rates and brightness to consider, all of which means that browsing your options can quickly become overwhelming. RCA aims to simplify that process with its smart TVs.

The RCA brand has been a trusted consumer electronics name specializing in good value and budget-friendly products for over a century. Its modest lineup of smart TVs is suitable for the 21st-century home, particularly for those people who want to enjoy their favorite content with ease. While these TVs may not include the very latest display technology or fastest processors, they are reliable and accessible, offering a platform for all the popular streaming services and apps. 

RCA offers options in size and resolution, trimming away the luxury features so that the cost stays low. If you think an RCA smart TV might be right for your entertainment needs, take a look at our buying guide, which covers the basics, and check out our favorites too.

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RCA sells TVs without a smart platform installed. While they range in size and some feature 4K resolution, in order to get smart capabilities, you’ll have to purchase a separate device to connect wirelessly, such as a Roku streaming stick.

Key considerations

Smart platform

Most RCA smart TVs use the Roku TV smart platform, generally considered one of the best integrated software platforms available. Roku TV doesn’t favor one type of operating system over another the way Fire TV is connected to Amazon, Android TV is connected to Google, or Apple TV is connected to Apple. That means that it easily welcomes all users and devices and doesn’t push subscriptions or content in the same way.

Roku TV offers access to popular streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and many others. While Roku TV itself doesn’t require a subscription, you do need individual subscriptions to access most services and apps. The Roku TV Channel is included with a free Roku account, providing viewers with a variety of programming on several different stations. While watching these shows and films doesn't cost anything, they are supported by ads.

Roku TV also includes a remote control that operates the volume and power of the TV and typically features one-button access to the most popular streaming sites.

Size

RCA TVs come in a moderate range of sizes, from smaller TVs geared toward bedrooms and dorms to medium options meant to serve as a central entertainment hub. TV screen size is measured on the diagonal. The smallest RCA smart TVs are 32 and 43 inches, while the company’s largest smart TV is 65 inches. A 55- or 65-inch TV is usually a good fit for most living rooms. However, if you have a larger space and the viewing area is more than 10 feet from the TV, a 65-inch model might be too small.

Resolution

RCA smart TVs come in three different resolutions. 

High definition (780p) is offered on the smallest models. These TVs are uncommon and typically come in smaller sizes since the resolution doesn’t offer fine detail. What’s more, most new content is produced at a higher resolution.

Full HD (1080p) TVs are quite affordable and offer decent detail and quality. Most shows and films from the last couple of decades were shot in at least Full HD, and plenty of content from decades prior has been upgraded. We recommend investing in an RCA TV with at least Full HD resolution. 

Ultra HD (2160p) TV boasts four times as many pixels as Full HD, though most models aren’t significantly more expensive. Newer films and shows are shot in UHD (or 4K), which means you can enjoy recent content in its ideal format. These TVs upscale older content as well. This has quickly become the standard resolution; most luxury TV brands are doing away with Full HD displays, and budget-friendly brands may follow suit in the years to come.

Brightness

RCA Ultra HD TVs feature high-dynamic range (HDR). This technology boosts the brightness of the pixels, creating a more lush and vivid display. HDR also helps improve contrast, particularly in darker colors. 

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Did You Know?
Founded as the Radio Corporation of America in 1919, RCA had great success as an innovative electronics leader through the mid-20th century. General Electric bought the brand in 1986.
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Features

WebOS

LG, one of the leaders in television technology, recently struck a deal to license its smart platform, WebOS, and RCA is one of the companies that now includes it on select TVs as a premium alternative to Roku TV. WebOs is among the top-tier smart platforms, with a customizable interface, easy access to apps, and support for virtual assistants. It’s faster and more intuitive than competing interfaces, including Roku TV.

Connectivity

RCA smart TVs connect wirelessly to the internet and include a series of inputs to allow you to hook up useful consoles and devices. You’ll find either two or three HDMI ports on your TV, depending on the size. Among the common devices you might want to connect are a DVD or Blu-ray player, soundbar, computer, or gaming console. RCA TVs also have one or two USB ports, so you can charge or power devices or check out content on a drive.

RCA smart TVs are ideal for those who want to casually enjoy their entertainment without fussing about details. As such, they’re great for teens and students and useful in rental cottages or guest rooms.

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Accessories

Soundbar: Vizio Soundbar
TVs don’t put as much emphasis on sound quality as they do on displays, which is why we recommend investing in a compatible soundbar to enhance the audio. This 29-inch option by Vizio comes at a budget-friendly price and features left and right channels.

Smart speaker: Echo Dot
Roku TV can be controlled by Alexa, Amazon’s smart assistant. In order to use this handy feature, you need an Alexa-enabled device like the Echo Dot. This fourth-generation model easily serves as an inexpensive hub for your smart home operation.

rca smart tvs
Did You Know?
RCA was among the first companies to offer televisions to American consumers. The company began experimenting with the technology in the 1930s and started selling devices at the end of that decade.
Staff
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Pricing

Inexpensive: You can find smaller-size Full HD RCA smart TVs for around $200.

Mid-range: Most RCA TVs cost between $200 and $300, with options in terms of size and resolution.

Expensive: Spend over $300, and you can buy a larger 4K RCA TV for the most detailed experience the brand offers. This price range also includes models with the WebOS smart platform.

Tips

  • Try the universal search. The ability to search for content through all your apps is highly coveted but often more frustrating than helpful. Roku TV has one of the best universal search functions available. You can even search by specific quotes.
  • Mount your TV on the wall. For the best viewing experience, mount your TV to the wall. Sitting comfortably in the center of the viewing area, find a spot on the wall directly across from you. That’s where the center of the TV should go.
  • Check your internet speed. For those who want a 4K TV, you need to make sure your internet speed is at least 25 megabits per second. For Full HD users, a minimum speed of 10 megabits per second will suffice.
  • Explore the features. Roku TV boasts a variety of inventive and useful features worth exploring. You can enable guest mode for visitors, cast video and photos from a connected device, and mirror your smartphone screen.
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RCA smart TVs come at a low price and typically aren’t long-term investments. As the technology continues to evolve and top companies innovate, you can expect higher-quality TVs to drop in price, offering better bang for the buck.

FAQ

Q. How do I set up my Roku TV account?

A. Setting up a Roku TV account is straightforward. You create a free account online, either before your TV arrives or after you’ve set it up. You need an internet connection (wireless or wired) to access Roku TV. Once your account is set up, you can start enjoying your favorite content. You can browse the various channels, such as Netflix and YouTube, and add them to your home screen so you have easy access.

Q. Are RCA TVs good for gamers?

A. For those who enjoy casual gaming, particularly with content on older consoles, RCA TVs can satisfy your gaming needs. With a refresh rate of 60 hertz, they provide a reliable connection, especially with respect to the size of the TVs.

However, for more serious gamers, such as anyone who competes online or plans to embrace the newest consoles from Microsoft or Sony, an RCA smart TV lacks the power and screen technology for you to get the most out of your games. You could find that online games lag, more vibrant landscapes appear muted, and darker environments are blurry.

Q. Can I watch live TV with an RCA smart TV?

A. The RCA smart platforms allow users to gain access to live TV apps and services. While the Roku Channel does offer dozens of free live channels, they typically aren't the most popular options. You’ll need to check the list of what’s currently available to gauge your interest. Other services and apps offer live channels with a subscription, though most offer a free trial period as well.

Q. How do RCA smart TVs compare with TVs from other budget-friendly brands?

A. Companies like Hisense, TCL, Sceptre, and Insignia are all vying to offer consumers affordable smart TVs. Generally, RCA products are cheaper for comparable sizes and resolutions, though the brand’s selection is more limited, and it doesn’t sell 85-inch TVs, which is just about the largest size available. Roku TV is a long-lasting, reliable smart platform that appeals to many viewers. Other brands may use Fire TV or Android TV as their platform, which cater to more specific audiences and device users. 

As Samsung and LG, the leaders in TV technology, license their innovations, other budget-friendly companies now offer enhanced displays like quantum-dot LED (QLED) or organic LED (OLED) screens. These technologies offer more vibrant colors and better contrast. As of this writing, RCA does not offer these technologies in its TVs.
 

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