Thursday, December 16, 2021

TCL Roku TVs

I've never been much on "smart TVs." I've had them, but only because I made my purchase without considering that aspect of the TV. I've had Roku and Apple TV devices since 2010, and didn't really need a smart TV. I had the smarts I wanted.

I say that because I have used a Roku TV extensively. I don't like it.

Let me explain.

For a time, there was a TCL TV that belonged to a family member that was available for me to use. She wasn't using it, and I wanted to try it, so I did. Now, in fairness, it was an older device. It wasn't the first generation of TCL Roku TVs, but it wasn't a current model when I began using it. It was a TCL Series 3, which is a low end model. I get all that. But, I do expect a device to perform well. This one didn't.

I've used other smart TVs, as I've said, but didn't buy them for their "smarts." However, I have tried the built in apps and interface, and find most of them lacking. Vizio is awful. I don't recall the others. I will say that Samsung's Android/Google TV is okay. I don't like the experience -- the interface and remote don't work all that well together; they're kind of awkward for me -- but it's better than Vizio and others I've used. I've also used Toshiba Fire TV devices. They're okay. Just a little awkward compared to using a Fire TV Stick and remote.

So how about Roku TV? Specifically, a TCL Roku TV? Actually, the interface is fine. The remote is very much like a standard Roku remote (which, really, it is). The experience is very Roku. That's a huge advantage, in my opinion, over the Toshiba Fire TV and Samsung Google/Android TV devices. Those others are similar, but not quite right. It's the remote, more than anything. But Roku TV? The experience is just like using a Roku. I like it.

But TCL TVs overall? I've only used the one, and as I said, it was a Series 3, and entry level device. However, the problem with it should be the resolution or picture quality, not the Roku interface. The problem is the Roku interface.

Sure, the picture quality on a cheap TV is cheap TV quality. But the Roku experience is not good. The TV is sluggish. It's like using a really really really old Roku.

So, I resolved it by taking a Roku Streaming Stick+ and just using the TV to see and hear. The Roku Streaming Stick+ gave me a proper Roku device.

Now, don't take this as an indictment of Roku TVs. I've used another TCL Roku TV that's a much newer and better device. It actually works fine. So, my conclusion? Like everything else, a TCL Roku TV can work great or work poorly.

I've had some issues with my TV lately -- no, not a Roku TV, but a TV with a Roku attached -- and it may be time to replace it. I don't like that, and I'd rather not spend the money, particularly at Christmas. If I can limp along through the holidays, I'll be deciding when to replace the TV. I'm not sure if I'll choose a TCL Roku TV, to be honest. I'm going to do some research and figure out just what I need to do.

I hope it makes it through the first of the year. No TV, no Streaming Life. And that just won't do.

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