Why TCL has the Best Smart TV’s for 2019
In the quest for finding the perfect smart TV, the name TCL inevitably pops up. Their Roku TV line has regularly topped Amazon’s best-selling charts over more expensive competitors like Samsung, Sony, and Vizio. So what makes these relatively unknown TV’s top performers time after time? A combination of value and service, for starters.
Who makes TCL TVs?
TCL is a Chinese company that has only been available to the American market since 2013. To break into the American market, it started with a vision of pricing the products it made competitively with budget manufacturer Vizio, but offering the same quality you might see with high-end LED TVs from Samsung or LG.
As a company, they decided to promote their brand directly because it came with no negatives associated with it, unlike some other Chinese brands who have even leased brands like RCA and Magnavox to find sales. The association with Roku quickly became a flagship feature, making them a good option for less tech-savvy owners who just want to buy one on Amazon and enjoy it without having to learn more apps or wonder if they read enough reviews.
Ask any TV owner how they feel about their display, and you’re likely to hear mixed reviews. Samsung’s platform will play unsolicited ads and can sometimes lag and degrade the picture. To avoid these pitfalls in their product, TCL partnered with Roku to bring their app directly to a TV set to make it comfortable to use and familiar for those who might already own a similar device.
The TV’s Hardware Features
By partnering to handle the apps, focus can be purely on producing the best video hardware. TCL TVs are consistently rated highly for their color contrast, picture and performance from their smallest 32-inch size TVs up to their largest 70-inch 4K Ultra HD TV. The products in this line usually feature a standard black chassis with 3 HDMI inputs and 1 combination ARC input on the back for connecting your cable box, gaming consoles, and more.
Every television has a 120Hz refresh rate to prevent motion blur from ruining the picture. Basic models have a 1080p output and do not support HDR, but the 4K models now support full HDR 10. All of their models also support standard 100mm x 100mm VESA mounting brackets for wall mounting.
The menu system and voice enabled remote are both designed well. They are not loaded down with buttons and every function that might scare off older owners, making it a popular gift for mom or dad. There is also an audio jack for night-time listening with headphones, so you can still watch without waking your partner sleeping beside you.
- Low-cost 1080p model with plenty of hook-ups
- Full 4K high resolution products come with HDR 10 support and 120Hz refresh rate
- Large remote with big buttons for older users
- Voice controls provide access to Netflix, Prime, and Sling TV
- Built-in WiFi plus wired ethernet port in back
- Remote has a headphone port for night-time listening
- Just three HDMI connections, one of which is for an ARC digital setup
- Legs are far apart on each side, which could be tricky to get on smaller size stands
Smart TV Technology
One great thing about TCL is that if you have used Roku at any point in your life, you get the picture with exactly how to get around with this TV.
These smart televisions automatically see all new channels that are added to the service, and on the Channel Store app you can see a rotating list of free movies and TV shows. You can only see some of these channels on Roku hardware, which gives them a leg up on the competition.
Hulu, Amazon, Sling, and other services are all available.
These TVs are designed to be easy for the less tech-savvy among us. The remote has the standard Channel, Volume, and Home buttons, but it also offers access to other streaming options. For hardware owners who already have an account, you can sign-in to your account on the TV and see where you left off with your standalone box.
For new users, my account creation process was simple to follow.
- Well-designed interface so less tech-savvy users have an easier time
- Get exclusive streaming choices
- Getting setup is guided and easy to follow
- Choose themes to customize the look of each screen
- View or re-organize your content at the press of a button
- No way to password-protect payment details for multiple users
- No profile system for per-user settings
The look of TCL products is elegant and understated. They have a small black border supported by two legs on either side. The back of the TV has a VESA mount so getting it wall mounted is much easier, and the ports are all located on the left side.
- Simple and understated design that will go with any home
- VESA mount for better wall-mounting
- Easy-to-use remote control with large buttons
- Two leg stand can be hard to fit on smaller TV stands
My Personal TCL TV Review
Overall, TCL has risen to become one of the best budget TV manufacturers available in the world, surpassing Vizio and competing more with LED TVs made by LG. While these sets may be associated with their low price, Amazon reviews about the series say they are the best choice in the price range.
These TVs have more streaming channels available than any set-top box, so it’s ideal for series and movie lovers, too. Their recent larger screen 4K HDR TVs retain some of the price advantages compared to more expensive models, but still provide fantastic video quality and a great entertainment experience.
In more than a year of owning it, I would say that my experience couldn’t be better. But, from online reports, resetting to factory settings fixes most problems. The bottom line is, if you need help then you probably broke it. Reset it and everything will be great again.
Overall, the value provided by TCL is undeniable. I have a black 55″ wide LED Roku TV that is my primary gaming set-up, and I couldn’t be happier with the picture quality, sound, or viewing experience. The only thing I would change in 2019 is that I would like to have gone with the larger 65-inch model.
Bottom Line Buying Guide
- Exclusive Roku Media Content and Services
- 4K Ultra HD LCD Picture Quality
- 3 HDMI Inputs + Composite
- Sound – Optical Audio Output
- Headphone Jack
- This Product is the Best TV Under $1,000 this Year