Every smart TV has an in-built operating system or platform that “brings life” to the box. Roku TVs typically come with the Roku platform and are featured in different TV brands, with TCL being the most popular one.
Depending on the brand, Roku TVs could be expensive or affordable. For instance, if you’re going to buy a TCL Roku TV, you will spend less because TCL TVs are generally lower-priced. However, if you’re buying from Hisense, you’d likely spend a bit more. But, of course, pricing is generally according to the specs.
Roku TVs have one of the best user interfaces for simplicity and customization. You won’t find crowded menus on a Roku TV, and you’d appreciate this – mainly if you have used a smart TV with an OS with zero interest in decluttering.
Roku TVs are also a fantastic hub for streaming channels or apps like Netflix, HBO Max, etc. You can revel in the online media libraries, watch live TV, or switch to traditional television. There are also a couple of free channels, including the Roku Channel, Tubi, and Pluto TV. It is a tremendous experience that awaits you if you nick a Roku smart TV.
Now, let’s know for sure if Roku TVs are reliable all-round. Not just the interface and TV offerings, and we will explore even the littlest details to help you decide if Roku is for you or not.
Are Roku TVs Reliable?
Roku TVs are reliable.
If you need an operating system that ticks all the right boxes and some, Roku is an ideal option. Roku uses the Linux system and has proven over time (factoring user reviews) that it is one of the best TV platforms after the usual suspects – Samsung and LG.
What’s more? Roku TVs are sold by nine TV manufacturers, including Hisense, Element, TCL, and Phillips. If Roku weren’t good enough, these manufacturers wouldn’t opt for it. You should note that the performance of a Roku TV largely depends on the TV manufacturer. So keep that in mind when you decide to buy a Roku smart TV.
Roku TVs Vs Smart TVs
What differentiates Roku TVs from smart TVs?
The primary difference between a Roku TV and a smart TV is that Roku TVs use Roku technology, and other smart TVs have a different operating system. TV manufacturers such as Element, Hisense, Hitachi, RCA, Sharp, and TCL use Roku’s streaming technology and user-friendly OS.
Roku OS allows cord-cutters to purchase internet-connected TV sets at a lesser cost while still receiving a high-quality device with an easy-to-use interface. Roku-enabled smart TVs run on the same operating system as the company’s streaming media players, allowing users to access the same streaming apps and channels.
Because the Roku technology is built right into the TV, there’s no need to attach a Roku player to watch movies and TV shows. Roku TV users switch on their TV, connect it to their WiFi network, and launch content from their favorite streaming services via applications and channels.
Users may watch media content up to 4K, the highest video resolution available for streaming on most new Roku TVs. Some even support Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR).
Roku TV vs. Roku Sticks
The Roku brand includes the Roku operating system and a range of Roku streaming devices like the Roku streaming Plus. Other companies manufacture Roku TVs, but Roku makes their streaming devices. You will, however, find the same interface on both devices.
Here are a few things to note about Roku TVs and Roku streaming sticks:
- Roku sticks are less expensive, but you’ll need a TV to use them.
- On the other hand, Roku TVs are more expensive all-in-one devices.
- Roku sticks offer a price advantage because they are easier to replace.
- Roku TVs, including those made by Philips and TCL, have an advantage because they come with everything, making them complete and convenient.
Which is better?
Well, we can’t say, and it depends on your preference. But we’ll say this; if you have a non-smart TV and want access to major streaming channels, then you should get a Roku streaming stick.
But if you already have a smart TV (with the Roku OS or not), you don’t need to get a streaming stick unless you need it for other reasons.
How Much Are Roku Smart TVs?
Roku’s devices tend to be cheaper than other smart TVs.
Roku’s smart TV lineup starts at $118 for a regular 32-inch TCL Roku TV. Roku TV models vary in price up to $2,000 for their high-end 75-inch 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR). These TVs are available from various online stores, including Amazon and Best Buy, at different price ranges.
Other smart TVs, including those made by Samsung and Sony, are more expensive. A basic 32-inch smart TV costs roughly $200, with lower- to mid-range Samsung smart TVs selling between $400 and $600.
Roku TVs are on our list of the cheapest TVs and the best TVs under $400, but we think you will get a better bargain (higher-end features) between $600 and $1,000. This pricing range offers outstanding performance with features like QLED panels, Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound support, and all of the apps you need.
If you’re willing to spend more, costly versions will add a few nice touches and features, but the general experience will be similar. Even the new 8K TCL Roku TV falls into this category, which costs between $2,199 and $2,999 depending on the screen size.
If you spend less than $500 for a Roku TV, you may have to make some significant compromises, such as lowering the visual quality to 1080p or 720p, settling for smaller screen sizes, or foregoing functionality like voice search.
Are Roku TVs Good for Gaming?
We will score Roku TVs above-average, miles behind the Samsung and LG heavyweights. That said, some Roku TVs perform well for gaming, and you will find crucial gaming features on newer, higher-end models. So if you want a better gaming experience on a Roku TV, you should be ready to spend more money.
The TCL 6 Series/R635 2020 QLED is arguably the best Roku gaming TV on the market. It’s excellent for gaming, having a fast response time and minimal blur behind fast-moving objects. It offers a fast refresh rate of 120Hz and supports variable refresh rate technology, decreasing screen tearing. In-Game Mode has low input lag and is ideal for casual gamers.
The contrast ratio on this TV is excellent, and the black uniformity is decent, resulting in deep blacks in a dark room. It’s also extremely bright, and while offering moderate reflection management, it can effectively handle glare in a bright room. However, because the image fades at an angle, it’s unsuitable for a large seating area or co-op gaming.
Unfortunately, the bandwidth of its four HDMI connections is limited to HDMI 2.0, and it cannot support 4k @ 120Hz gaming from the latest consoles. However, it supports 1080p and 1440p @ 120Hz gaming, ideal for Xbox and PC users.
Roku TVs Common Issues
The most common issues customers report are detailed below, along with troubleshooting recommendations to help resolve them.
Roku TV WiFi Connectivity Issues
WiFi problems can cause audio, and video degradation, sluggish Roku overall performance, and you’d likely see a “Not connected” pop-up in the top right corner.
To confirm if your WiFi is working, follow these steps:
- Select Network from the Settings menu.
- You can verify whether the WiFi signal is Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor in this section.
- You must resolve the signal if it is Fair or Poor to improve performance. You may not be able to move the TV, but if it has an Ethernet port, you can use it to see if WIFi is the cause of the sluggish performance.
- The Roku error number 009 indicates that your TV cannot connect to the Internet. You might want to check the TV’s network settings and reconnect.
If other devices are connected to the same WiFi without issue, you should reset your router and TV. You should also try adjusting the external antenna if your router has one. If other devices have trouble connecting to WiFi, you may need to upgrade your router.
Walls can also make it difficult to connect to your TV. You could try repositioning the router closer to your television.
Roku TVs Audio Issues
Sound problems on a Roku TV are most straightforward to repair.
Use the following troubleshooting guide if you encounter this problem:
- Check that all cables are correctly connected and in excellent condition and that all devices are turned on.
- Also, ensure the mute function is turned off.
- Adjust the volume and listen to hear whether the sound has returned to normal.
- If you’re using an Audio-Video receiver, go to the TV’s audio settings and change the HDMI and S/PDIF audio output to Dolby D. (or Dolby Digital).
- Open the audio options and change the audio mode to Stereo and HDMI to PCM-Stereo if you’re using HDMI.
If you have a surround sound system but only get stereo sound, go to Audio Settings and change the audio output setting from Auto Detect to the proper setting for your sound system.
Want to Buy a Roku TV? The Best Options
Roku 8K TV (R648)
The TCL 6-Series 8K Roku TV (R648) is the most affordable 8K TV available, and it’s even cheaper than some 4K TVs. It also has all of the features we love about Roku TVs, including superb performance and low lag times for gaming.
Because of its size and weight (just over 70 pounds), it will require the assistance of another person to set it up properly. The brushed-metal bezel is thin on all sides save the bottom, where its half-inch width is large enough to fit the TCL and Roku TV logos; quarter-inch black bands run across the top, left, and right sides.
This television has an adaptive picture that adjusts as you watch. Machine learning powers TCL’s AiPQ Engine technology, which intelligently enhances color, contrast, and clarity for an unparalleled 8K HDR experience with brilliant color, sharp clarity, and dramatic depth.
TCL’s 8K Roku TV also has Smart 8K Upscaling technology, which improves the clarity and sharpness of lower-quality video using a distinctive machine-learning procedure that corrects the faults that less advanced 2-dimensional resolution enhancement technologies usually generate.
The TV’s primary flaws are the 8K panel’s limited viewing angles and the subpar audio, both of which can be improved with a soundbar. But the main problem, which any 8K TV faces, is that there’s minimal content you can watch in 8K, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
TCL 6-Series Roku TV
The 6-Series provides excellent picture quality and a superior smart TV experience for a fraction of the price of its competitors. In addition to a quantum-dot display, the R635 features mini-LED backlighting. The end effect is stunning color and brightness, as well as some of the finest HDR performance we’ve seen outside of a high-end OLED TV.
The 6-Series is also one of the top gaming TVs on the market, with features like THX Certified Game Mode. It boasts features like auto low-latency mode and customizable refresh rate, great for newer consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox One X.
It’s simple to use and has many apps to choose from. It has Mini LED backlighting, which lets the screen get bright, but its full-array local dimming is unimpressive, even though it’s supposed to provide you more control over the local dimming zones.
It offers the most sophisticated features that customers want in a high-end TV, such as a 120Hz panel and variable refresh rate (VRR) compatibility. Still, it lacks HDMI 2.1 ports, making it largely unsuitable for console gaming.
Overall, the TCL R635 is fantastic television. The TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) provides excellent value for money, with exceptional picture quality and a terrific smart TV experience for a fraction of the price of the competition.
Roku TVs may be cheaper and mostly lower-standard than other high-end brands, but they are good enough for regular people who can’t afford pricey TVs. They also come with incredible features, and it’s a great bargain to enjoy all of that at lower costs.