If you’ve been in the market lately for a top-notch 4K TV, you might have run across offerings that were in the thousands of dollars.
That might have made you take a couple of steps backwards. But if you can stop only focusing on big-time brands like Sony, Samsung and LG, what you’ll find is that there are indeed wonderful budget-friendly options out there.
Do yourself a favor and take a long hard look at the TCL 6-Series, which is proving to American consumers that you don’t necessarily have to spend that much to get a great panel.
Within the past year, it really has become the go-to 4K TV for anyone seeking top-notch picture quality and a built-in Roku interface. Best of all, you won’t have to tap into your mortgage payments, as the 65-inch model comes in at a reasonable $750 and the 55-inch $550.
The 6-Series boasts 4K UHD picture with the much-vaunted QLED color technology and Dolby Vision HDR. In order to use these quantum dots (more often associated with Samsung’s TVs), this set comes with a layer of nanoscale semiconductors in the screen that produces exceptionally vivid red, blue or green light.
This advanced tech produces the best and brightest colors you can achieve with an LED-backlit LCD display. OLED is probably the only panel that can dethrone quantum dots, but you’ll be shelling out at least several more hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
The TV’s contrast ratio is remarkable. Its ability to showcase the deepest of blacks, in addition to its exceptional brightness level, really separates it from other offerings in the similar price range. Yes, there are TVs that do exhibit deeper blacks and higher levels of brightness, but money-wise, again you’ll be talking north of $1,000.
One of the best aspects of the 6-Series is the built-in Roku, which, along with Android TV and LG’s webOS, is considered one of the top smart TV platforms out on the market right now—and it’s basically free with the TV.
Roku boasts an incredibly intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it a breeze to quickly find what you want to watch for family movie night. Toggling between the numerous apps and devices is also a snap, as you don’t have to physically deal with all of the buttons and switches of separate devices.
The streaming offerings on Roku are plentiful, giving you simple access to just about every app available, including Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Also know that since the apps are built-in, you can get to them faster and more easily than via an external streamer.
If a new streaming app hits the market, you can bet that Roku will know that and you’ll quickly have access to it. With frequent updates and feature improvements, it seems that Roku is always looking out for your TV-watching needs.
Can’t forget about all you die-hard gamers out there. The advice is that you can probably stop using monitors that are dedicated for that specific purpose. The 6-Series features extremely short lag times and does a fantastic job in smoothing out heavy action—perfect for first-person shooter and sports games.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.