Which Roku TV is best?

Roku is a popular streaming platform because it’s easy to use and has a wide variety of free content. As a TV operating system, it does a good job of managing basic connections, image adjustments and high-end features.

Of the TVs with Roku pre-installed, there are a few clear winners, and they all come from TCL, a Chinese manufacturer that’s been around since 1981. While the TCL 6 Series has the most premium features and technologies, the TCL 5 Series sits right in the sweet spot, with great performance and a moderate price.

What to know before you buy a Roku TV

There aren’t many manufacturers

Philips and RCA have been known to release a Roku TV now and then, but rarely. Hisense had a small Roku-enabled lineup a couple years ago, but they’re no longer being made and are a few steps behind modern TVs. TCL is the only company with multiple worthwhile Roku TVs for sale.

They’re not meant for enthusiasts

For the most part, Roku TVs aren’t intended to satisfy the pickiest or most demanding users. For example, there are no Roku TVs with OLED panels or 120-hertz HDMI 2.1 compatibility. Instead, they’re meant for people who want a reliable and good-looking TV without dropping thousands of dollars.

To that end, TCL even makes an 8K Roku TV — which we’d normally consider an ultra-premium class — but it’s considerably less expensive than most other 8K TVs.

They’re suitable for a broad range of uses

Some TVs use specific technologies that make them particularly good for, as an example, watching movies. Roku TVs are  good for consuming any type of content, whether sports, sitcoms or livestreams, rather than standing out in any one area. The high-end models do deliver great black levels and color gamuts for the price.

What to look for in a quality Roku TV

The right size

A 55- or 65-inch TV is the right size of 4K TV for most users, but not all. If your couch or home theater seating sits more than about 8 feet from the wall, a bigger size might be better. Similarly, consider a larger model if you watch a lot of movies and want a more cinematic experience.

HDR support

High dynamic range helps a TV display highlights better during both dark and light scenes, without dimming the other visuals too much or making them too bright. Static contrast ratios contribute to it somewhat, but local dimming is far more important. Local dimming allows a TV to dim certain sections of the TV without affecting others, and is a must-have for a true HDR experience.

Wide color gamut

The color gamut refers to how many colors a display panel can produce. The most affordable Roku TVs are limited to the standard RGB gamut or slightly better. Premium options such as the TCL 6 Series, however, support the DCI-P3 color space that movies are commonly encoded in.

How much you can expect to spend on a Roku TV

Full HD Roku TVs are the cheapest at about $200. 4K Roku TVs start around $350 and can reach just over $1,000.

Roku TV FAQ

Does the Roku platform have ads?

A. There are ads throughout the operating system for channels, apps and content, but they don’t interfere with what you’re watching. Some free channels also have commercials. In early 2022, however, Roku started implementing new ways to deliver advertisement, including pop-up ads that can interrupt viewing.

Can I turn off ads in the Roku OS?

A. Neither the small, innocuous ads in the interface nor the commercials on free channels can be disabled. The intrusive pop-up ads, however, can be disabled by unchecking the “Use info from TV inputs” box in the settings. There’s also an additional setting in the privacy menu that you can disable to prevent targeted ads. 

What kind of content can I watch on Roku?

A. You can access every major streaming app and many obscure ones through the Roku OS. There’s a large selection of free content available through The Roku Channel and other channels. Paid services such as Netflix are also easy to install, although you’ll need an active subscription.

What’s the best Roku TV to buy?

Top Roku TV

TCL 5 Series

TCL 5 Series

What you need to know: This cost-effective option sits between TCL’s bargain and premium models.

What you’ll love: Due, in part, to quantum dot filtration, the S535 can produce an impressively wide range of colors, and it’s highly accurate even before calibration. The color gamut, local dimming and premium gradient handling make this a great TV for watching movies.

What you should consider: It’s limited to a 60-hertz panel and has a poor peak brightness, so it’s not great for well-lit rooms.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Roku TV for the money

TCL 4 Series

TCL 4 Series

What you need to know: This is one of the most affordable, straightforward 4K TVs.

What you’ll love: If you want something big and don’t want to spend a fortune, the S435 is worth a look. It has an impressive native contrast ratio and is good for most uses, including enjoying movies, watching sports and playing games. It also makes a decent PC monitor.

What you should consider: While it does OK at most things, it’s not a premium TV by any means, and lacks most high-end features.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

TCL 6 Series

TCL 6 Series

What you need to know: It’s the top TCL offering with the popular Roku operating system.

What you’ll love: Also known as the R635, it’s packed with premium features including a 120-hertz panel, Mini LED backlight technology, local dimming for enhanced HDR performance and a wide color gamut. It also supports variable refresh rates and has the low input lag needed for gaming.

What you should consider: It’s not cheap and it doesn’t offer HDMI 2.1 connectivity, so you can’t play games in 4K at frame rates above 60 frames per second.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best 1080p Roku TV

TCL S325

TCL S325

What you need to know: If you have a small space or are most focused on saving money, this Full HD option might be perfect.

What you’ll love: This 40-inch TV is more compact and less expensive than every 4K TV. As such, it makes a great secondary TV for a bedroom or study. It also comes in a 32-inch version that lets you save space while also getting a slightly sharper picture.

What you should consider: Outside of the Roku operating system, it has nothing in the way of advanced features.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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