The 5 Best Roku TVs of 2021

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The Rundown
"This model uses QLED technology popularized by Samsung as well as an all-new processing engine to produce stunning 4K resolution."
Best Budget:
TCL 40S325 at Amazon
"The Full HD resolution display still provides a crisp and enjoyable watching experience."
"With Dolby Vision HDR support and a THX-certified game mode movies and video games will look and sound their absolute best."
Best Small Screen:
TCL 32S327 at Amazon
"There is also a built-in digital TV tuner to receive over-air signals for more media options."
"This TV features a THX certified game mode that automatically adjusts audio and picture settings"

Roku is just one of the many streaming hub services available for smart TVs, and they also make streaming devices to turn simple TVs into web-enabled units. With the platform, you'll get access to hundreds of thousands of apps like Netflix, Disney+, and Spotify, and the streamlined home menu keeps your favorite apps and playback device inputs in one convenient, easy-to-access place. This means you won't have to try to memorize HDMI input locations or navigate any confusing menus. TCL is one of the top brands for Roku-enabled televisions, though others like Hisense also use the platform. TCL is also the king of affordable smart TVs, offering budget-friendly models that still offer all of the features you've come to expect for home entertainment like 4K resolution, great sound, and voice controls. 

Many Roku TVs use a mobile app to turn your smartphone or tablet into a voice-enabled remote, but they can also be connected to an external smart speaker like the Amazon Echo Dot or the Google Nest Hub Max for expanded controls. These TVs are available in a wide variety of screen sizes, allowing you to buy a great TV that will fit in just about any space from a tiny college dorm to a grand home theater. We've rounded up our top picks below and broke down their features to help you decide which is the perfect upgrade or first Roku TV.

Best Overall: TCL 50S535 50-INCH 4K QLED Roku TV

What We Like
  • Auto game mode

  • Integrated cable management

  • Excellent picture quality

What We Don't Like
  • Need smart speaker or app to have voice controls

  • No Bluetooth

TCL has established itself as one of the top manufacturers of Roku-capable televisions, and the 50-inch 5-Series continues that legacy. This model uses QLED technology popularized by Samsung as well as an all-new processing engine to produce stunning 4K UHD resolution with Dolby Vision HDR support as well as over 1 billion colors for more true-to-life images. The screen has around 80 contrast control zones to create deep, inky blacks and bright, clean whites for enhanced contrast and detailing, and the ultra-narrow bezel gives you an edge-to-edge picture for a more immersive experience. Console gamers will love the automatic game mode, which detects when your console is connected and turned on, adjusting picture settings and refresh rates to reduce input lag as well as screen tearing. 

If you use a virtual assistant, you can connect an external smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google home for hands-free voice controls; you can also download the Roku app to your mobile device to use voice commands for browsing content. With the Roku platform, all of your input connections and apps are together in a single, simplified hub menu, eliminating the need to memorize inputs and navigate confusing lists to find a movie or show to watch. The back of the TV has integrated cable management channels to help keep your cords and cable organized as well as 4 HDMI inputs so you can connect all of your favorite game consoles and playback devices at once.

Best Budget: TCL 40S325 40-inch 1080p Smart TV

What We Like
  • Full 1080p HD

  • Great price point

  • Built-in WiFi

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of DOA units

  • Short lifespan

If you're shopping on a budget, don't worry; TCL's 40S325 features a 40-inch FullHD 1080p display with a backlit LED panel. The picture itself may not blow higher-priced models out of the water, but the Full HD resolution display still provides a crisp and enjoyable watching experience. For connecting to any of Roku's online experiences, the TV also features built-in Wi-Fi.

If you need to plug in any of your favorite peripherals, the television features three HDMI ports, one composite A/V input, a digital optical audio output, a 3.5mm audio out jack, and RF input. A more humble offering than the other options on this list, we recommend the 40S325 if you need an upgrade, and need one now. Otherwise, we do suggest looking at some of our 4K recommendations for a TV that offers a bit more longevity.

Best Splurge: TCL 75Q825 75-Inch 8-Series QLED 4K TV

TCL 75Q825 75-Inch 8 Series
What we like
  • Voice-enabled remote

  • Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos

  • AirPlay compatible

What we don't like
  • No Bluetooth connectivity

If you're wanting to spend a bit more in order to get all of the features you want to set up the ultimate home theater, the TCL 75Q825 is the best option. This 75-inch screen uses QLED technology as well as Dolby Vision HDR to give you the best 4K resolution and upscaling for a great viewing experience. The dual 15 watt speakers work with Dolby Atmos to create virtual surround sound, and the TV boasts an HDMI ARC connection for setting up soundbars and other home audio equipment for a custom home audio configuration. The TV comes packaged with a voice-enabled remote that works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri for hands-free control over your new TV and connected devices. 

With Apple AirPlay compatibility, you can share music, photos, and videos from your mobile devices for more ways to watch your favorite shows or listen to podcasts while you do house chores. The 8 Series also features closed captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing users and parental controls to make sure little ones don't access shows and movies that aren't age appropriate. As with all Roku TVs, you'll get a bevy of preloaded apps like Crackle and Peacock to get you started with your next binge-watch session.

Best Small Screen: TCL 32S327 32-Inch 1080p Smart TV

What We Like
  • Native 1080p

  • Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant compatible

  • Built-in digital TV tuner

What We Don't Like
  • Reports of WiFi connectivity issues

  • Reports of failing screens

  • Some apps are very slow to load

The TCL 32S327 32-inch unit is a great choice for college students looking for a dorm room TV or anyone with a smaller living room. This model features native 1080p resolution to make your favorite movies and shows look more true-to-life. The LED screen is direct-lit for enhanced picture quality in brighter environments. It also has a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth media playback while streaming, watching a DVD, or playing games. 

With the built-in WiFi receiver, you can connect this TV to your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant unit for voice controls when browsing menus. There is also a built-in digital TV tuner to receive over-air signals for more media options. The back of the TV has HDMI, USB, and analog video ports so you can connect everything from a Blu-ray player to your favorite game console.

Best for Gaming: TCL 75R635 6-Series 75-Inch 4K QLED Roku Smart TV

What we like
  • THX Certified Game Mode

  • Voice Controls

  • Plenty of inputs

What we don't like
  • No Bluetooth

  • No G-Sync or FreeSync

If you're an avid console gamer, the TCL 75R635 is the perfect upgrade for your gaming space. This TV features a THX certified game mode that automatically adjusts audio and picture settings for better images and sound, and the 120Hz refresh rate means lag and motion blur won't be a problem. The 75-inch screen uses QLED tech and 240 contrast control zones to provide excellent color, detailing, and 4K resolution and upscaling so you can take advantage of both current gen consoles like the PS5 and even retro consoles. The TV works with Alexa and Google Assistant for hands-free voice controls, so you can turn on your Xbox Series X with a word or pull up walkthrough videos on YouTube when you get stuck on a puzzle or boss. The simplified remote makes it easier to select your input source or apps like Twitch when you want to take a break from racking up Call of Duty wins or rooting out imposters in Among Us.

Final Verdict

The TCL50S535 is the best Roku-based television on the market right now. It offers excellent 4K resolution with Dolby Vision HDR support as well as clean, crisp audio for the best viewing experience possible. It also features tons of inputs for all your home theater equipment as well as integrated cable management channels to keep your space looking neat and organized. If you're looking to spend a bit more to get a wider range of features, look no further than the TCL 75Q825. It comes packaged with a voice-enabled remote for hands-free controls without an external smart speaker, AirPlay 2 compatibility to share your smartphone or tablet screen, and Dolby Vision and Atmos support for a superior viewing experience.

About Our Trusted Experts

Taylor Clemons has been reviewing and writing about consumer electronics for over three years. She has also worked in e-commerce product management, so she has the knowledge of what makes a solid TV for home entertainment.

FAQs

What is Roku?
Roku started as a streaming peripheral like the original AppleTV, allowing you to turn a regular TV into a smart TV. The Roku platform gives you access to over 500,000 apps like Netflix, Showtime, and Spotify so you can stream your favorite shows, movies and music. If you want to learn about the Roku platform in-depth, check out our article explaining it.

What size TV do you need?
That depends on the size of your room. The best way to decide on a screen size is to measure the distance between where your TV will be wall-mounted or on a stand to your seating area and divide that in half. A distance of 10 feet (120 inches) means that the ideal TV size for your living room will be 60 inches. 

What apps can you have on this TV?
Roku gives you access to over 500,000 apps, and features a suite of preloaded popular ones so you can get started on your next binge-watch session. If one of your favorite apps isn't included in the suite, you can use the dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity to download it to your new TV.

What to Look For in a Roku TV

TCL is the most popular brand of Roku-enabled television, although other companies like Sharp and Hisense also have models that use the streaming platform. Roku acts much like AppleTV, FireTV, or other smart television operating systems; it allows you to download streaming apps directly to the TV without the need for external equipment. The Roku operating system uses a universal hub menu to put all of your devices, inputs, and apps in one place for quick and easy access, eliminating the need to memorize input locations and navigate complicated submenus. Many Roku-enabled televisions have hands-free voice controls either through smart speakers like the Amazon Echo or Google Home or the Roku mobile app. 

Most also have support for HDR technology, including Dolby Vision, to produce stunning details, color ranges, and contrast for incredibly lifelike images. Some even use QLED technology in their display panels for enhanced color volume and brightness, putting Roku TVs in the same tier as higher-end competitors like LG or Sony. If you're a console gamer, many Roku TVs have dedicated game modes which reduce input lag and adjust refresh rates for smooth on-screen action. There are many other factors to consider when shopping for a Roku-enabled television, such as screen size, price, and input connections. We'll break down some of the more important ones to help you decide which is right for you.

TCL S405 Series 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart TV Example
TCL S405 Series 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart TV Example. Image provided by Amazon

Screen Size

Contrary to what some TV manufacturers would have you believe, there is such a thing as a TV that is too big for your space. The best way to find the perfect size television for your space is to pick a spot to either wall mount your TV or place it on a dedicated stand and measure the distance to your seating. Dividing that measurement in half gives you the ideal TV size for your space. For example, if you sit 10 feet (120 inches) from your TV, the best size would be a 60-inch television. Having a TV that is too large for a space runs the risk of letting you see individual pixels or picture noise, resulting in a muddy, less detailed picture. 

Motion blur can also be a problem if you buy a TV that's too big; having a constantly fuzzy picture can ruin any movie night or binge watch party. It may also cause motion sickness if you sit too close to a large television. The downside to a TV that is entirely too small for a space is that everyone will have to crowd around the screen to watch movies and shows, giving you the experience of an overcrowded movie theater in your own home. Screens that are too small also make it difficult to see details or subtitles unless you sit very close. Dorms, apartments, kitchens, and children's playrooms benefit from smaller screens while living rooms, outdoor spaces, and dedicated home theaters are best suited to larger screens.

TCL P607 Series 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart TV
TCL P607 Series 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart TV. Image courtesy of Amazon

Price

So you've measured your space to see how big your TV should be, the next most important factor is price. Are you working with a limited budget, or are you able to spend a little extra to get the features you want? Roku-enabled televisions are available at a variety of price points ranging from less than $200 to several thousand dollars. Lower-priced models will often have fewer smart features, foregoing built-in voice controls or 4K resolution in favor of affordability. Mid-range TVs give you more to work with like preloaded apps, HDR support and 4K resolution, or app-enabled voice controls; they may also not give you features like Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio equipment setup or screen mirroring, preventing you from sharing your smartphone or tablet screen to the TV. The highest priced Roku TVs seem to give you everything you could ever want in a smart TV: QLED panels, 4K resolution with Dolby Vision support, virtual surround sound, dedicated game modes, ambient light and noise sensors, preloaded apps, and voice controls. 

When deciding on a budget for your new TV, it's best to consider what kind of use it will get. Are you looking for a secondary TV for your bedroom or kitchen? Is it going in your kids' playroom? Or are you looking to upgrade your main TV in the living room or home theater? A TV that isn't going to see much use, like a bedroom or kitchen TV, may not need all the bells and whistles, whereas one that will be your main source of family entertainment should provide more ways to share videos, photos, and music with everyone.

TCL Q82X LED/LCD TV with Quantum Dots and Mini LEDs
TCL

Screen Resolution

The screen resolution that is right for your home theater solely depends on what kind of content you regularly watch. Televisions with native 4K resolution have become more and more popular as ultra high-definition content has become available for streaming and broadcast. These models also feature processors that can upscale non-4K content for consistent picture quality; meaning your old DVDs or over-air shows will look just as great as Blu-Rays or UHD streamed movies. TVs that produce 4K resolution have four times the pixels of their 1080p HD predecessors, meaning that more detail can be packed on the screen. However, just because they're becoming more and more popular doesn't mean that 4K is the right choice for everyone. 

There are still Roku-enabled TVs as well as other smart TVs that use full 1080p HD. They give you all the smart features you come to expect like streaming video and music and voice controls, but they are made for those who prefer cable, satellite, or over-air broadcast to streaming. You still get a great picture with 1080p HD, including wide color ranges and good contrast, but the detailing isn't anywhere near as great as 4K. But unless you have a Blu-Ray player or exclusively stream UHD movies and shows, you won't notice. The best choice for those who still use cable, satellite, or over-air broadcast channels is 1080p full HD, while those who have cut the cord and exclusively stream their entertainment should opt for 4K.

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