TCL S-Series 4K Roku TV
Last updated date: January 10, 2019
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We looked at the top 1 Televisions and dug through the reviews from 5 of the most popular review sites including PC Magazine, CNET, RTINGS.com, Consumer Reports, Tom's Guide and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Television you should buy.
This 55-inch TV from TCL has Roku built in to help you connect to all of your favorite streaming apps. You'll also get a clear picture and a headphone jack to plug into. In our analysis of 95 expert reviews, the TCL TCL S-Series 4K Roku TV placed 11th when we looked at the top 16 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
Editor's Note July 10, 2019:
Checkout The Best Television for a detailed review of all the top televisions.
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From The Manufacturer
The S-Series 4K TCL Roku TV delivers stunning picture performance while bringing all your favorite content through a simple, intuitive interface in a sleek modern design.
Overall Product Rankings
An Overview On Televisions
TVs have come a long way since the days of black-and-white broadcasts. Not only can you access hundreds, even thousands, of channels through cable and satellite providers, but you can use apps to stream a seemingly unlimited number of TV shows and movies.
But all of this technology has only made finding and purchasing a TV more complicated than ever. When you start shopping, you’ll immediately be bombarded with terms like LED, OLED and 4K HD. When you factor in screen size and access to apps, it gets even harder to figure out what you need.
As you consider picture quality, there are several factors that are important. Not only does the sharpness of the images on the screen matter, but you should also consider whether a set can achieve truly black tones, even in the darkest rooms. Many of the top TVs struggle to provide this, but manufacturers have been fiercely competing to be at the top of their industry in this area.
Another variable when looking at picture quality is glare. If your TV will be in a bright room, the “true black tones” won’t be as much a concern as the sunlight coming in through the windows. There are some TVs that seem to magnify even the slightest bit of light, meaning you’ll never be able to enjoy a good movie during the daytime. However, that same TV in a movie room or basement may work fine.
Once you’ve considered picture quality, it’s time to think about apps. The TCL line of TVs come with the Roku service built in, which means you can access streaming services like Netflix and Hulu without an additional device. But you’ll find the same app connectivity on Samsung’s and Vizio’s TV sets. The interface will just be slightly different.
Since streaming relies heavily on search, voice functionality is crucial. As you’re shopping, look around for a TV with a remote you can control via voice. Some remotes do better with intricate search features like stating channel names, for instance, so it’s important to check into that if you plan to use voice-to-search functionality with your new TV.
Of course, even with all of these features, there’s no denying that the look and feel of your new TV is important. Whether you’re hanging it on a wall or setting it atop an entertainment cabinet, you’ll want a TV set that complements your room’s décor rather than detracting from it. You’ll probably find while shopping that many TVs are basically the same in design, with small differences. But even something as simple as the thickness of the frame around your screen can matter when you’re sitting down to watch a movie.
DYWM Fun Fact
Flat-screen TVs may have first been available to consumers in the early 2000s, but they’ve actually been around since 1964. That year, both the first LCD and first plasma display panel TVs were invented. The technology had to wait several decades for broadcast providers to catch up. In 1996, the U.S. had its first ever high-definition digital broadcast. Even then, it took time for enough HD content to be provided for consumers to invest in the technology. Today, consumers can find a variety of programming for their 4K HD TVs, including original programming on streaming networks like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The Television Buying Guide
- The most important differentiator when you’re choosing a TV is picture quality. TCL is at the top of the list in this area, although it does have some weaknesses. The lower letterbox bar can appear cloudy when you’re watching in letterbox format. You’ll also find that brightness and video processing aren’t quite on par with what you’ll get with much more expensive TVs.
- Dolby Vision has become a sought-after feature in TVs. It’s included with the TCL 6 and 5 Series, as well as the Vizio P Series. The Samsung QLED uses HDR 10+. While that standard is better than HDR10, it pales in comparison to the TVs with Dolby Vision built in.
- Glare is an important issue, especially if your TV will be set up in a room with plenty of windows. The Samsung QLED 4K UHD’s finish is designed to combat those reflections, while other sets simply can’t overcome them. The TCL 5 Series is a great TV, but it doesn’t get as bright as other TVs, making it a bad fit for an especially sunny room.
- One of the most frustrating things about a newer TV can be finding that it looks great, but only when you’re seated directly in front of it. Both the Samsung QLED and TCL 5 Series struggle to provide consistent image quality as you move around the room.
- A crisp, vivid picture isn’t worth much if the colors you’re viewing are off. The Vizio P Series features deep blacks, combined with rich colors and bright brights. This is especially valuable if you’re taking advantage of the TV’s HDR. The Samsung QLED provides impressive color accuracy, even in bright rooms.
- If you’re setting up your TV in a home theater, contrast is especially important. You’ll enjoy watching even the darkest scenes on the TCL 6 Series, which uses local dimming and native contrast to display dark colors even in low lighting. You’ll notice the Samsung QLED struggles a little when switching to dark scenes, especially if the center of the screen is bright.
- Although all the TVs have access to apps, the TCL TVs have integrated Roku, so they’re set up to make accessing your streaming content easy. However, the Samsung QLED’s Universal Guide takes you directly to your content. The Samsung TV has a bit of difficulty recognizing channel names, though. Vizio’s Smartcast app doesn’t quite keep up with competitors, with app access coming across as sluggish. However, this app uses Google Chromecast, which may make it a preference if you’re accustomed to using it.
- One issue with the TCL 6 Series is with the remote. Unless you successfully pair it during initial setup, it won’t work correctly.
- If you’re a gamer, pay close attention to the TCL 5 Series. It has a low input lag, which means when you press a button, you’ll get an instantaneous response.
- The Samsung QLED is a 65-inch model, setting it apart from the others, which are 55 inches. The TCL 6 Series may be the same size, but it isn’t quite as wide as the Vizio and TCL 5 Series.
- Unless you move every few months, chances are your TV will stay in the same place for most of its lifespan. Still, it’s always nice to have a TV with a durable build. The Samsung QLED has a sturdy feel, along with a uniform thickness throughout.
- If you aren’t planning to mount your TV, note the type of stand it uses. The Vizio P Series has two clawfeet stands on either side, which means you’ll need to set it on a tabletop wider than it is. With center-stand TVs, you have the luxury of using a smaller table and having the TV hang over slightly if necessary.
- Before you buy a TV, determine whether you plan to mount it or set it on its stand. Since not all TVs come with mounts, you may need to buy one when you purchase your TV.
- With some TV purchases, you can add on expert installation for a small fee. If you aren’t comfortable hanging your TV, this may be the way to go.
- Cables are an important consideration when choosing a TV you plan to mount. The Samsung QLED plans for this by providing one slim cable that hooks all of your equipment up to the TV. This is through the use of the One Connect Box, a small box that lets you connect all your devices in one place. Since you’ll need somewhere to store the box, this setup is ideal if you have an entertainment cabinet beneath your wall-mounted TV.
- For the many householders that have joined the cord-cutting revolution, the Vizio P Series brings back the built-in TV tuner, giving you access to local channels when you aren’t streaming.
- Sound on most of the TVs you buy today will prove inadequate, so set some of your spending money aside so that you can add on a soundbar. If you want full surround sound, you’ll need to invest in a speaker system, which can get pricey.
- Although today’s TVs are much less conspicuous than TVs from previous generations, appearance is still important. The Samsung QLED model includes a new feature called Ambient Mode, which provides decorative content and optional background music. You can even upload your own photos to display when the TV is idle.
- Price may be the biggest differentiators in this lineup of TVs. Although the Samsung QLED is significantly larger at 65 inches, you’ll pay for it with a price tag well over $1,000. Compare this to the impressive TCL 6 Series and the Vizio P Series, which are priced in the $600 range. You can save even more money by going with TCL’s 5 Series, retailing for less than $500.
- Compatibility is an even bigger factor than ever when choosing a TV. Check to make sure the devices you already own are ideal for the TV you choose.