TCL 55″ 4K UHD Roku Smart LED TV (2018)

Last updated date: September 3, 2019

DWYM Score
8.3

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We looked at the top 1 4K TVs and dug through the reviews from 10 of the most popular review sites including RTINGS.com, Best Reviews Guide, The Consumer Guide, PC Magazine, 4K, Digital Trends, New York Times Wirecutter, Lifewire, Monitor Nerds and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best 4K TV you should buy.

Overall Take

Our Best Value pick is the TCL 55-inch 4K UHD Roku Smart LED TV, thanks to its affordable price. You'll get deep blacks, vibrant colors and superb picture quality for a more reasonable price. In our analysis of 94 expert reviews, the TCL TCL 55" 4K UHD Roku Smart LED TV (2018) placed 3rd when we looked at the top 15 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note October 14, 2019:
Checkout The Best 4K TV for a detailed review of all the top 4k tvs.

Expert Summarized Score
8.1
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.4
769 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The TCL 5-series has very thin borders that give it a sleek look.
- RTINGS.com
May 23, 2018 | Full review
This TV is nevertheless sporting an impressive contrast ratio of around 5300:1, thanks to black levels that are surprisingly good for a mid-range LCD.
- Reviewed
July 20, 2018 | Full review
The TCL 55S517 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV has 3 HDMI inputs so you can connect your favorite devices. It has Edge LED backlighting and dynamic contrast control so you have the best picture available. This TV also utilizes Dolby Vision high dynamic range to add to the picture quality for sports, movies, and TV shows. This TV from TCL has the following connection options: USB, RF, composite, headphone jack, optical audio out, and ethernet. The smart functionality gives you access to streaming channels for movies and TV episodes using Roku TV.
- The Consumer Guide
April 3, 2019 | Full review
It features a sleek design and wide color range with good accuracy out of the box.
- PC Magazine
March 19, 2019 | Full review
It delivers the goods wonderfully on vibrant HDR color. This is especially useful because this model also supports Dolby Vision HDR, thus letting it actually show you a decent flow of the color range and highlights that Dolby delivers to the right kinds of 4K TVs that it’s present in.
- 4K
January 23, 2019 | Full review
It offers great performance, a versatile Roku interface, and a monster screen size for the money.
- Digital Trends
January 30, 2019 | Full review
The TCL 5-Series has a wonderful contrast ratio for an LCD/LED TV that lacks local dimming, and it produces a bright, punchy image. The integrated Roku OS makes it one of the easiest TVs to use, and it supports every major streaming service. Gamers don’t have to worry, thanks to very low input lag that ensures the TV can quickly render the video in your favorite games with little delay. And if you watch over-the-air TV, you can even pause it with the use of a basic USB flash drive. The 5-Series also works with the Roku TV Wireless Speakers, making it easy to upgrade the audio without having to add any wires.
- New York Times Wirecutter
February 13, 2019 | Full review
If you’re looking for a big screen on a budget, the TCL’s Roku-enabled LED TV fits the bill. Since Roku’s current catalog offers more than 500,00 movies and TV episodes, your viewing choices are extensive and easy to access through this TV’s built-in interface. Other apps like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and YouTube are also available to meet all your streaming needs. And if you’re tired of clicking through endless menus to find what you want, don’t worry — this TV comes with a voice control remote, so queuing up your favorite show is as simple as saying the word.
- Lifewire
February 28, 2019 | Full review
The TCL 55S517 is capable of superb color coverage, reaching 94% of the DCI-P3 gamut which makes it ideal for HDR imagery. Accuracy out of the box hits an average of Delta E 2.3 which is fantastic for a TV, but you can tighten it down to DE .5 with a more ideal color temp setting via the TCL Android or iOS app. Frankly, this TV is one of the most user-friendly options out there when it comes to adjusting the screen, making it a suitable choice for the non-technically-inclined.
- Monitor Nerds
March 22, 2019 | Full review
What experts didn't like
However, a pretty obvious gap between the border bezel and the first line of pixels on the screen.
- RTINGS.com
May 23, 2018 | Full review
It doesn't get very bright—even during HDR content. Also, the internal speakers are kind of a bummer.
- Reviewed
July 20, 2018 | Full review
It has relatively dim panel. Well-lit fine details like fur and bark look clear but become slightly muddy in shadows.
- PC Magazine
March 19, 2019 | Full review
VA display creates poor image quality at angles and there is no local dimming (unlike its 6-Series cousin).
- 4K
January 23, 2019 | Full review
The 5-Series supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR, but its lack of local dimming means that we don’t consider it a true HDR TV.
- New York Times Wirecutter
February 13, 2019 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

The 5-series 4K TCL Roku TV delivers stunning Ultra HD picture quality with four times the resolution of Full HD for enhanced clarity and detail, as well as the most streaming channels of any 4K TV. To make the most of all this content, Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) technology delivers bright and accurate colors for a lifelike viewing experience. In addition, your favorite HD shows, movies, and sporting events are upscaled to near Ultra HD resolution with 4K upscaling. The simple, intuitive interface allows seamless access to over 500, 000 streaming movies and TV episodes, your cable box, Blu-ray player, gaming console, and other devices without flipping through inputs or complicated menus. HDMI Ports: 3 HDMI 2.0 w/HDCP 2.2 (1 ARC); Resolution: 3840 x 2160; USB Ports: 1 USB 2.0

Overall Product Rankings

1. LG 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2018 Model)
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 7
2. Samsung 75-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart QLED TV (2017 Model)
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 11
3. TCL 55″ 4K UHD Roku Smart LED TV (2018)
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 10
4. VIZIO 75″ E-Series 4K UHD Smart LED TV (2018)
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 4
5. TCL 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV
Overall Score: 8.2
Expert Reviews: 8
6. Sony 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 4
7. TCL 55-Inch 4K Smart LED TV
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 9
9. LG 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 2
10. Vizio 65-Inch LED TV
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 3
11. LG 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 2
12. Sony 60-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV
Overall Score: 7.4
Expert Reviews: 3
13. VIZIO 40-Inch LED Smart TV
Overall Score: 7.3
Expert Reviews: 4
14. Sharp 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD LED Smart HDTV
Overall Score: 6.8
Expert Reviews: 1
15. Sharp 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD LED Smart HDTV
Overall Score: 6.7
Expert Reviews: 1

An Overview On 4K TVs

Televisions have likely come a long way since the last time you were in the market for a new screen. TVs have followed the typical tech trajectory of slimming down and dropping weight while increasing screen sizes. Even if your current TV is only a couple years old, technology has skyrocketed in that time to produce incredible visual effects. That’s largely due to the introduction of 4K TVs. These 4K TVs bring along crisper, brighter and more colorful picture quality than ever before.

There are truly outstanding 4K TVs available with four times the amount of pixels as their 1080p predecessors. On top of that, they boast the latest and greatest screen technology. All of that adds up to the ultimate in viewing experiences, no matter what you choose to watch. Quite frankly, you’ve never seen your favorite shows or anything from around the world so vividly from the comfort of your couch.

But all these new and improved features can make choosing a new TV complex and confusing. There are many new numbers and acronyms in the descriptions that can sound like a foreign language to a new buyer. However, armed and ready with a bit of knowledge and a few tools of the trade, you can make an informed purchase and find the best 4K TV for you.

One of the first factors to consider is size. Measure and understand how much space you have for your TV. You’re more likely to mount a 4K TV on your wall than set it on a console, but some models have legs and can sit on a stand. It’s worth noting, these legs are generally at the outer edges of the TV, instead of in the center, affecting the overall dimensions of the stand. Additionally, TVs are measured diagonally, so take that into consideration when you assess your space and size needs.

“If you take away one thing from this guide, it’s that size matters,” Patrick Ward, editor-in-chief of the blog High Speed Experts, says. “Specifically, when buying a 4K TV, don’t hold back. The whole reason for getting a 4K TV is that you value picture and audio quality — that cinematic experience can only be achieved with a massive 4K TV.”

Now, the standard resolution is 4K Ultra HD, which offers four times the pixel resolution as previous 1080p HD. That means crisper, more detailed images. It also lets you sit closer to larger TVs without the usual image degradation.

Pixels alone aren’t responsible for the wow factor that comes with 4K TVs. For that, you need to dive into the additional differentiating acronyms. When you combine screen technology like High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG), that’s when those extra pixels really pop.

What’s more, these 4K TVs have all the features you need seamlessly integrated. They are smart TVs. That means there are no more gadgets or cords required to connect to apps, streaming services and more. It’s all in one.

The latest and greatest technology doesn’t always come cheap. While there are three excellent budget-friendly buys in the top 4K TVs, there are also spendier versions. They start under $500 for the budget-friendly TCL 55S517 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV. Then, you can quickly add on more fancy features that increase the price. The LG Electronics 65SK8000 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV rings up around $800 for a little more at $1,000 you can score the Vizio E-Series 75-inch. The splurge version is the Samsung QN65Q9FN FLAT QLED 4K UHD 9 Series Smart TV for around $2,000 for the 65-inch model. At that price, the Samsung delivers much more than a standard TV viewing experience. In fact, it includes a new Ambient Mode, which displays decorative content, useful information, personal photos or background music to blend with and enhance your interior décor.

“What used to be a hefty chunk of change for folks, is now quite affordable for the majority of households,” Ward points out. “Don’t have all the cash upfront? Putting it on a payment plan can make the monthly repayments virtually unnoticeable.”

You can rest assured it’s a good time to upgrade your TV. There are always updates and new technology in the works, but the next big change to 8K resolution is still a ways off.

 

 

DYWM Fun Fact

Most televisions 50 inches and larger available for sale today are 4K. However, this high-definition resolution and massive size wasn’t always the norm. The earliest televisions were very primitive in comparison. RCA began selling the very first television sets and broadcasting regular programs back in 1939. These had 5-by 12-inch (12.7 by 25.4 cm) picture tubes.

Television technology has progressed by massive leaps and bounds since the early days. Still, for decades, the primary resolution used to describe TVs was the vertical resolution. The switch to 4K, or horizontal resolution, only came in recent years.

Even now, not all content will come in at 4K level. There isn’t any U.S. broadcast TV at this level yet. However, you can find 4K content in from many streaming services, like Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and Vudu. You can also access 4K content with Ultra HD Blu-ray players and gaming consoles, like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.

What you can expect in the future is even more shifts, including increases in pixel resolution and more innovative technology. No matter what, the future of TV viewing is getting clearer and crisper with each new innovation.

The 4K TV Buying Guide

  • Remember to measure twice before selecting a new 4K TV. The screen measurements listed on TVs reflect the diagonal distance on the screen. The other measurement is the width of the TV, for sitting on a stand as well as hanging on the wall.
  • The newest 4K TVs have four times the pixels of the previous 1080p TVs from a few years ago.
  • There is new, advanced pixel technology in the works. However, it is a few years away still, so it’s a good time to upgrade to the latest and greatest 4K TVs available now.
  • The larger the number of pixels, the closer you can sit to the TV and still see a crisp clear image.
  • The new 4K TVs vary widely in price, so researching each of their distinguishing features could help you choose a more cost-friendly option.
  • The official resolution for 4K TVs is 3,840 by 2,160, so they are just shy of truly 4,000. The simplified description is much more user-friendly, so it stuck.