TCL P collection Roku TV (2017) evaluate

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Late 2017 replace

In order for you a 55-inch TV and do not need to pay $1,500 for an OLED, the TCL P collection is the one to get.

Merely put, no different TV presents this degree of image high quality for this low-cost a worth. At simply $650, or $600 for the Finest Purchase variant (see under), the TCL P prices lots of lower than the 55-inch Sony XBR-X900E, for instance, however its image is simply pretty much as good — and in some ways, it is higher. It additionally earned the next picture-quality rating than the far more costly Samsung Q7 QLED TV.

You learn that proper. I reviewed the TCL 55P607 when it got here out in June, and have in contrast it to quite a few televisions since. It is higher than simply about all of them, regardless of how well-known their model names.

The secret’s its full-array native dimming. It permits the display to dim and brighten in numerous areas independently, and TVs which have it virtually at all times carry out higher than TVs that do not. After all, different points of picture high quality are necessary too, however good native dimming kinds the premise of excessive distinction in LCD TVs, and distinction is king. It is the primary purpose why OLED TVs look so good.

You will discover I stated “nearly all.” The largest exception, and the TCL P collection’ largest competitor when it comes to picture high quality for the cash, is Vizio’s M collection. It has basically the identical degree of image high quality because the TCL, and its 55-inch measurement prices $700 proper now. I preferred the M collection a lot that I gave it Editors’ Selection award for 2017, over this TCL, for the easy undeniable fact that the Vizio is offered in a number of sizes, from 50 all the best way as much as 75 inches.

Like I stated on the high, nonetheless, if you need a 55-inch set, get this TCL as a substitute of the Vizio. Past the truth that the TCL is cheaper, its Roku TV working system is much superior to what Vizio presents. Roku has dead-simple menus and hundreds of apps, together with probably the most 4K and HDR streaming apps you may get. It is also consistently up to date, the newest together with a new program information for over-the-air antenna that makes the P collection far more pleasant to twine cutters. The Vizio would not even have an over-the-air TV tuner.

After all you can (and may!) add a $70 Roku Streaming Stick Plus to a Vizio and get a lot of the similar performance, however that would not be as elegant as built-in Roku, and it might enhance the value distinction even additional.

Briefly, each units are wonderful, and each earned the identical total ranking, however at this measurement, TCL P is bigger than Vizio M.

Replace, Dec. eight: The textual content of this evaluate has been up to date all through, apart from the image high quality part, to mirror the newest software program updates in addition to comparisons to different merchandise, mainly the Vizio M collection. Its scores stay the identical.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Two flavors of P, each in 55-inch solely

The P collection is simply accessible within the 55-inch measurement I reviewed. 

TCL initially introduced it might ship 50- and 65-inch sizes too, however in August it canceled these plans. It hasn’t supplied a proof past “shifting our focus from the remaining 2017 P collection fashions (50- and 65-inch) to the next-generation P collection portfolio,” in keeping with a spokesperson. Translation: Wait until 2018 for greater Ps.

In the meantime, one other 55-inch TCL P collection Roku TV, mannequin 55P605, is offered solely from Finest Purchase. It lacks the 607’s enhanced distant (see under), but it surely’s $50 cheaper and has in any other case equivalent options and film high quality. So sure, it is a good higher discount than the 55P607, so long as you do not care about that distant.

Shiny ft, Roku’s a deal with

It ain’t ugly by any means, however neither will the P collection be identified for its dashing beauty. Certain, the flexible chrome-colored legs present a modicum of panache, and the identical goes for the matching edges, however in any other case it is a ho-hum TV design: thick(er) cupboard, minimal shiny black plastic borders, TCL and Roku logos.

I am a fan of Roku TVs’ well-traveled menus, particularly their grouping of inputs (cable TV, PlayStation and so forth) on the primary residence display, proper alongside Netflix and Hulu. You may select from a bunch of preset names and icons for related units, or title them no matter you need. You may as well shuffle them across the display or take away them solely, and the identical goes for the apps: every thing is on the identical footing and simple to customise, type of like your cellphone. I simply want a 3rd of the display wasn’t occupied by an advert.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku TVs have entry to all of the hundreds of apps discovered on Roku’s platform, which nonetheless presents higher protection than any competitor, sensible TV or in any other case. Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Hulu, Plex, HBO Now, Showtime, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Vudu, Google Play Motion pictures and TV, Watch ESPN, Fox Sports activities Now, FX Now, Comedy Central, Starz, PBS Children… if there is a video app that is not iTunes, Roku virtually definitely has it. And due to Motion pictures Wherever, you’ll be able to even watch your iTunes-purchased TV reveals and films on this TV.

And if that app streams in 4K, HDR and/or Dolby Imaginative and prescient, the P collection can ship these streams, too. I particularly just like the “4K highlight” app that surfaces particular person 4K and HDR (and Dolby Imaginative and prescient) TV reveals and films throughout a couple of suppliers, though sadly Netflix is not one in all them. I additionally just like the “4K content material accessible” listing on the app retailer, which reveals the entire 4K apps accessible on Roku.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The entire Roku TVs I’ve examined reply rapidly and serve up movies with minimal delays. Search is one of the best within the enterprise total, and generally the interface is as pleasant and easy because it will get. For more information, try my evaluate of my favourite 4K Roku system, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus.

Triple-threat ‘enhanced’ distant

The clicker has only a few buttons, buying and selling direct entry to channels and “extensive” modes, for instance, for giant keys that zip ably across the menus. “Enhanced” in Roku parlance means the P607 will get three necessary clicker extras: a headphone jack, a distant finder and the flexibility to look together with your voice. 

The distant finder helps you to simply find a misplaced clicker, for instance from inside the sofa cushions or a child’s toy field (true story). To make the distant emit a noise, you need to use the management buttons on the rear of the TV. Once I tried it, the sound was loads loud. Up to now so good.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Roku’s voice perform isn’t almost as strong as Amazon Alexa, discovered on Hearth Version TVs for instance, but it surely labored effective for searches and, thanks to a different new software program replace, for app launching, switching inputs and tuning to an antenna channel. If the TV is off, a voice command like “launch Netflix” will flip it on and launch the app. 

Roku’s cross-platform search trawls greater than 300 completely different apps and channels, and after I used the distant for voice searches, its recognition was correct and fast. As at all times, I liked Roku’s up-front presentation of comparability costs for pay-per-view TV episodes and films.

Sadly Roku’s signature distant function, a headphone jack on the distant for personal listening, did not work flawlessly. The primary time I related headphones to the distant, it muted the TV’s audio as deliberate, and lip sync was effective (not fairly good, however adequate), however the audio broke up, rendering it unlistenable. Each different time I examined it, it labored nicely, nonetheless, so I am prepared to chalk it up as a blip. Switching from a 5GHz community to 2.4GHz appeared to assist, however your mileage could fluctuate.

When you do not care about these distant extras, Finest Purchase’s 55P605 is a bit cheaper. It comes with a regular distant — no headphone jack, distant finder or voice search. It additionally used infrared (IR) expertise so you must intention it on the TV, whereas the improved distant’s radio frequency (RF) expertise lets you level it wherever.

Streaming options and antenna pause

Roku TV’s newest new function known as “Extra Methods to Watch.” Its authentic implementation used computerized content material recognition (ACR) to recommend TV reveals from streaming sources primarily based on what’s enjoying by way of cable field, satellite tv for pc field, antenna or related video system, like a Blu-ray participant. Sadly these options take the type of popups, and they are often annoying. I switched them off (in Settings > Privateness > Good TV expertise).


Purple asterisk within the antenna information = stream now.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The most recent implementation of MWTW is voluntary. It solely works with TV from the over-the-air antenna, so it is ineffective for cable subscribers, however for antenna-savvy twine cutters it is fairly candy. If an antenna present listed within the new grid-style digital program information has a purple asterisk subsequent to it — and plenty of do — you’ll be able to hit the asterisk key on the distant and be proven methods to observe that episode, instantly and from the start, by way of a streaming service. 

I attempted it with “Sesame Road,” for instance, and was ready to select from Spectrum’s app, HBO Now or HBO Go. Clicking Now launched the app and took me on to that present. Briefly, the over-the-air antenna information on Roku TV is now one other solution to browse what you’ll be able to stream. This is an in-depth look.

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