The Roku TV: The Roku Experience Built Right In
- Roku’s top-notch platform is built right in (no separate streaming device required)
- Access countless streaming apps and manage your subscriptions through your Roku account (optional)
- Great pricing, especially on medium-sized 4K and 1080p TVs
- Multiple manufacturing partners and countless models can make comparison-shopping tough
- No way to replace your “Roku” without replacing the TV it’s built into
Having the user-friendly Roku platform in a simple, all-in-one device is a delight, especially for those less tech-savvy users who may be sick of having to deal with multiple devices, multiple remotes, and the dreaded “input” button.
The Roku TV at a Glance
|Price||$119.99-$2,499.99; 4K models start at around $200|
|Streaming resolution||720p HD to 4K UHD; 60-120 fps|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi and Ethernet|
|Ports||Varies, but typically includes: 3-4 HDMI, coaxial (cable/antenna), USB, Ethernet, composite video, ARC|
|Audio||Built-in speakers; digital audio output, ARC output|
|Smart-device compatibility||Varies, but can include: Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant/Google Home, Apple Airplay, Apple HomeKit|
|Other key features||Roku Voice Remote|
Roku TV Setup
One of the things I really liked about the Roku TV models I tested was how easy it was to get set up and start watching TV. Out of the box, these TVs work pretty much just like other Roku devices: You’ll create a Roku account (or sign up for one if you don’t already have one), log in, add some “channels” (which is what Roku calls its apps), and go. If you already have a Roku account, you can simply sign in and sync your channels, quickly adding all the familiar apps that you already have on your other Roku devices.
Setting up cable and other inputs is easy, too — just plug and play. As I’ll talk about in the next section, it’s very easy to find your inputs within Roku’s simple menu.
Our Experience With the Roku TV
If you’ve read our Roku Ultra review or our Roku Streaming Stick review, you already know that we at CordCutting.com are big fans of the Roku platform. As I tested several models of Roku TVs, I was pleased with how well the Roku experience translated to the new hardware.
The most important thing about Roku’s platform is that it works with such a wide variety of apps, including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video. But with competitors like Amazon’s Fire TV platform offering similarly huge app libraries, the user experience is key. Roku has always excelled here, especially when it comes to its simple main menu of tiled icons. It’s a straightforward approach that feels a lot like the home screen of Apple’s Apple TV 4K, though Roku’s aesthetic is a little friendlier (albeit a little less stylish and luxurious).
All Roku devices use this same interface — in fact, it’s usually impossible to tell if you’re looking at a menu screen from a Roku Streaming Stick, a Roku Ultra, or another Roku device. With the TVs, there’s one major difference in the menu: Alongside your usual apps, you’ll also see tiles for your TV’s inputs. I really liked this approach, which keeps all of the things I want to do with my TV on one basic menu. Roku even recognizes certain devices and labels them. If it doesn’t, you can always create your own label.
Roku TV Streaming Quality
I’ve tested a 720p Roku TV, a 1080p Roku TV, and a 4K Roku TV, and all of them have performed as expected. At this point, I wouldn’t recommend a 720p TV (whether it be a Roku TV or any other kind of TV), simply because that level of picture quality is no longer industry standard. As I’ll discuss in our section on prices and value, I think it’s worth investing in one of the 4K models.
When it comes to the finer points of picture quality, Roku’s TVs tend to be very solid. Analyzing TV picture quality often involves discussing high dynamic range (HDR) in general and black values in particular; the differences between the darkest shades of black can be tough for cheaper, HDR-less TVs to render. The 4K TCL 6-series that I tested could handle black values very well, particularly considering its price point.
In my testing, my Roku TV was able to load and stream video on various apps (including Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, DIRECTV STREAM, and YouTube TV) very quickly. Streaming was high quality and consistent. Naturally, loading times were slightly faster when I used an Ethernet cable, but the difference was negligible enough that I didn’t typically bother with the cable — Wi-Fi was more than reliable enough for me.
Having tested Roku TVs over a period of years, I have noticed that older models can slow down a bit as they age. The difference is relatively minor, and I doubt it will bother most users, but it does highlight one drawback to the all-in-one approach: With a Roku Ultra, you can buy the latest model for a hundred bucks and plug the new version into your old TV. With the Roku TV, the only way to get more up-to-date built-in streaming hardware is to buy a new TV.
Roku TV Value
Prices vary across the Roku TV models, so this is a good time to talk about all of those various models.
Roku doesn’t manufacture TVs itself — instead, it has partnered with brands like TCL. These TV companies create the hardware, and Roku provides the software. Each brand of TV offers various models of different sizes, prices, and levels of picture quality.
Roku’s few remaining 720p models are dirt-cheap, but I don’t recommend buying TVs at that resolution right now. The 1080p models are also very cheap, and a little more tempting, but I think the sweet spot in value is right where you’d expect it to be: at the lower end of the industry-standard 4K models. You can get a 4K Roku TV for just two or three hundred bucks right now, and you can get a nice big one for a hundred or so more. Roku also has 8K models, but that relatively new technology comes with a big price tag.
While I haven’t been able to test every brand of TV, I have spent a lot of time with several TCL models, and I’ve been very impressed with their quality.
The Verdict: Is a Roku TV Worth It?
The idea behind a Roku TV is to make Roku’s dead-simple approach even simpler. Roku TVs house Roku’s fantastic operating system — one of the best streaming options on the market — inside the TVs themselves, and these devices manage that combination beautifully. Given the value of the affordable 4K models (and the very strong performance of the 6-series in particular), I’d recommend these smart TVs to just about anyone.
20 thoughts on “Roku TV 2023 Review”
Please explain regular viewing of major networks and locals input by Xfinity, U-verse, and the satellites.
Has been a good Tv so far but after several months 0f use three stations have stopped streaming. Netflix, You Tube TV and Amazon Prime have just stopped streaming. No help from Roku or TCL customer service unless you want to spent hours going from site to site with endless entering E-mail address, passwords, filling out problems statements finding dead ends and pulling your hair out and still no help. Before this I just had one major problem. The Remote is the cheapest flimsily thing you have ever used. too small for the hand. cheaply made and no upgrade for a better one or for a universal remote available. Very frustrating.
I WOULD NOT SUGGEST BUYING A TCL TV. I GOT IT AS A CHRISTMAS GIFT 2018, WENT BLACK ONE TIME WAS ABLE TO REBOOT, HAPPENED AGAIN CAN NOT REBOOT. HAD TV FOR 17 MONTHS AND DOES NOT WORK. TALKED TO TCL. THEY KNOW THIS A KNOW PROBLEM WITH THIS TV AND WILL NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT WITH OUT A RECEIPT. VERY BAD SUPPORT. TV SHOULD LAST LONGER THEN 17 MONTHS.
I WILL AGREE WITH MIKE i WILL NEVER BUY ANY PRODUCT THAT IS TCL OR ROKU. HAVE TO HAVE A ROKU REMOTE IF YOU TURN YOUR TV OFF TO DESIGNATE WHAT TYPE OF FEED (CABLE, SATELITTE,OR ANTENNAE) YOU ARE USING. WHY SHOULD IT MATTER HAD LESS THAN TWO YEARS AND REMOTE NO LONGER WORKS. FOUND OUT AFTER A POWER OUTAGE. NOW WAITING ON NEW REMOTE. ABSOLUTELY A PIECE OF TRASH.
I am currently, May 2022, experiencing same issue. Bought in 2019 32” TCL Roku TV and it will no longer connect to internet (Wi-Fi).
No customer support rep is able to fix this issue. May have to toss out!
sound comes and goes
today my t.v. suddenly stopped streaming any channels. no Netflix, no Youtube, none of the free streaming channels either. I’ve had it a few years, but I would hope a smart tv would last longer. can’t afford a new t.v. and will now have to cancel netflix. during a pandemic you need all the distraction. very depressing.
went to crap today won’t connect to the internet to stream channels, but says it’s connected. something inside it has broken. wonder if there’s a class action lawsuit against them.
Will be returning my 32″ TCL Roku TV tomorrow for a full refund. Whoever designed a BLACK remote control to be smaller than a set of car keys should be fired. I have spent more time searching for my stupid remote than actually being able to watch the thing. Do NOT waste your money.
I bought this 50′ TCL Roku TV in August 2020. I have had nothing but trouble out of it. I have had Geek Squad out here to fix it FIVE times already and it still is not working properly!! The TV is only 4 months old, every time Geek Squad comes out they have to order parts for it so I have to wait for the part to come in. Then, they are sent either the wrong part or the part they send is defective in some way.
Can’t get it to work correctly with my Direct TV and big surprise tech support tells me its a problem with Direct TV even though other TV works fine. Very unhappy with this product
BEWARE: I bought a 55″ TCL Model 55S405 Roku 4k HDR and have had it 2 years. TV went black. No help from customer service. WOULD DEFINITELY NOT RECOMMEND WASTING YOUR MONEY!!
DonT buy a Tcl TV they Take care of Warrant problem./
Can’t stand roku , it would be nice if you could shutdown roku and just use other devices. I only use roku to turn on tv then I use my other remote for everything elsr. Tv great but will never buy another because of roku
Series 3 32″ Roku will, repeat WILL NOT, connect to 5G network! Will connect to 2.4. My network is 5G…..have to use hot spot to connect. Samsung and Sony are worth the price difference. Note this and ensurevany TCL tv will connect to 5G before you buy…their customer service is horrible!!!!
Had an issue with there being sound and no picture. FINALLY got the company to send out a repair person. He changed all 3 circuit boards inside the set. Now a few weeks later I can’t get the TV to go to cable so I can watch programs. I was on the phone for and hour and a half with a representative doing “troubleshooting”. Problem not resolved and can’t turn the power to the set off, have to unplug the set.
Got all of you beat! Got mine for a birthday present, hung it on the wall, first damn day
it started blacking out on me in the middle of movies. Though it was an electrical connection, till I read all the complaints about dropping apps. Won’t put up with this bs.
Hooked up my old tv, now I have this 55″ albatross hanging on my wall. Shame for the ones who tried to do something nice for me.
keeps rebouting why
don’t waste you time with support. I bought a tcl roku tv in july and it started having little horizonal flashes across the screen I spent an hour and a half with tcl tech, nothing helped. I contacted support sent everything they asked for i even had to video the problem, that took forever because the video couldn’t be very long or it wouldn’t send in email. to make a long story short, the tlc that was the problem and never presented to be a problem on any of the other 4 flatscreens i have, was not tcl fault was cable fault??????????? NOT!! i moved this tv to 2 other rooms and it did the same thing, but the tvs i moved to my bedroom no problem what so ever. Was a waste of my time and mental state to fool with a company who doesn’t want to take responsibility for a faulty tv. never will I but another tv from tcl