The Roku brand is one of the most respected names in the streaming world. But did you know that in addition to producing streaming devices, Roku software has also been injected into many smart TV brands? So, what is Roku TV? Roku’s operating system (OS) organizes not only your favorite apps but your most-watched and recommended shows and titles. This, in turn, makes for a more personalized viewing experience. There are about 12 top smart TV brands like Hisense, Sanyo, Sharp, TCL, and Westinghouse that utilize the Roku OS and interface. These brands aren’t as popular as LG or Samsung, but you might be surprised by their features and overall performance. So, by employing the Roku OS as “the brain” and central interface to navigate your apps, this specific union of brands has been dubbed Roku TVs.
Now that you know what a Roku TV is — what Roku TV brand is right for you and your needs? Which 4K Roku TV model delivers the best quality picture? Is there a Roku TV model that has solid features but won’t break the bank? What Roku TV is best overall? We answer all these burning questions and more below.
Hisense R8 Series
The Hisense R8 Series is a solid smart TV priced between $700 and $800. With 4K resolution and both HDR10 and Dolby Vision support, your picture quality will be upscaled with Dolby Vision compatible titles. The R8 Series also utilizes phosphor-based wide-color-gamut (WCG) technology that makes for impressive picture quality. Just don’t expect quantum dot color, a backlighting method that improves brightness and authentic colors. The R8 Series also falters by not being able to provide 1080p/24 video, which is common among all modern-day smart TVs.
It has a bright screen that works particularly well in brightly lit rooms but suffers in the dark. The reason for its lackluster performance in dark rooms is due to how the R8 handles shadows. They aren’t as dark and exhibit less contrast than competing TVs, which leaves something to be desired when watching cinematic movies.
The Hisense R8 Roku TV interface implements the same design and layout you’ve come to know and love but in teal green. With your voice-powered remote, you can navigate to the home menu to the left of your home page or move to your grid of apps at the right of your screen. Or, simply hold down the voice button (microphone icon) and open your preferred app or channel. Just note that the R8 model only has 60 Hz native panel rather than a more favored 120 Hz. The latter 120 Hz refresh rate operates twice as fast as 60 Hz.
JVC Class 4K UHD 2160p Roku Smart TV
If affordability is a major factor for you, then the JVC Class 4K UHD might check all of your boxes. In fact, the JVC Class 4K delivers a solid picture considering its price tag — between $369 for the 50-inch and $899 for the 70-inch. So, you’ll get a 4K UHD resolution along with LED LCD display technology that strengthens dark colors and shadows without breaking the bank. If you’re a gamer or movie fanatic, then, yes, there are stronger options on the market, but you’d be hard-pressed to find such a model under $800.
JVC advertises a premium refresh rate of 60 Hz. However, this isn’t as quick as a 120 Hz refresh rate, which is preferable for online gaming. This JVC model has 3 HDMI connections that you can use for your Blu-ray player and game consoles. And accompanying the TV is a simple remote that you can use to navigate JVC’s Roku interface and Roku Channel Store. There’s also the free Roku app that you can download on your phone and use to control all of Roku’s devices, even allowing you voice-control capabilities.
The TCL 6-Series tops most Roku TV charts for its impressive capabilities with 4K high-dynamic-range (HDR) picture quality and Dolby Vision along with quantum dot LED (QLED) where the pixels emit light giving the impression of colors coming off the screen. All this and Dolby Atmos sound will give you an immersive cinematic experience. TCL 6-Series is also great for gamers as it wields THX Certified Game Mode, together with a Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Game Mode, which is faster and optimized for quick action.
TCL ranges from $700 to $1,500 with 55-inch ($699.99), 65-inch ($999.99), and 75-inch ($1,499.99) versions. Even the outside brushed-metal finish and look has a durable and refined quality. The screen covers nearly the entirety of the display. And with a Natural Motion 480 refresh rate, a propriety TCL feature, you can avoid pesky lagging and skipping.
The TCL 6-Series is a solid option for gamers who don’t want to spend thousands of dollars but still desire a competitive picture quality for fast-paced gaming. And if you’re a fan of 4K streaming, the 6-Series holds up very well for an older model smart TV.
TCL-8 Series might be one of the more expensive Roku TVs on our list, but that’s for a good reason. One of the standout features of the TCL 8-Series is its embedded Mini-LED technology, which enhances darks and lights, ensuring greater dimensions and contrast. The 8-Series has the stunning 4K HDR and QLED technology of the 6-Series, and Quantum Contrast with around 1,000 contrast control zones. When considering that the 6-Series only has 240 contrast control zones, that’s a huge leap. The 8-Series also supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos as well as HDR Pro Gamma, which expresses more shadows in both bright and dark rooms. And the color optimization of the 8-Series is further improved by TCL’s AIPQ Engine, boosting its overall color vibrance.
Just like the 6-Series, the TCL 8-Series has a voice-controlled Roku remote that you can use to quickly open your apps and channels. The 65-inch TCL 8-Series is available starting at $1,999.99, and the 75-inch for $2,999.99.
TCL 8-Series is worthy of your main entertainment setup and will perform at the highest caliber no matter if you’re playing video games, watching a movie, or binging your favorite Netflix series.
Westinghouse UX Series 4K UHD Smart TV
Westinghouse might not be one of the most recognized names in smart TVs — but its features are strikingly good for its price point. The UX Series includes sizes in 43-inch ($299.99), 50-inch ($329.99), 55-inch ($399.99, and 65-inch ($579.99). Not only is the UX Series an affordable option for a 4K smart TV, but it supports HDR10 high dynamic range compatibility. This isn’t as good as HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, which both upscale your image quality, but compared to the JVC Class 4K, it’s a little better. It also exudes an impressive audio quality powered by Dolby Audio, which enhances dialogue and sound for a balanced audio mix.
Like a lot of the other smart TVs on our list, the Westinghouse UX Series has a 60 Hz refresh rate. This isn’t the most optimal for online gaming. But pulling from 16.7 million display colors, the UX series has a detailed palette that provides an increasingly vast color gamut selection. You can easily connect a soundbar with the UX’s Optical Digital Output or even utilize older equipment with its Composite Video input.
The Westinghouse UX Series might not be the perfect TV for your main entertainment setup, but it’s a solid secondary TV for the bedroom or game room.
The final cut
Out of the hundreds of Roku TV models out there, you’ll want to consider features that are important to you before making a purchase. If you’re a gamer and the extra detail is make or break, then you’ll want to consider TCL 6-Series or 8-Series. However, if you’d rather invest in a bigger screen for an affordable price, then either of the Hisense R8 Series or Westinghouse UX Series might suit you best. But no matter what your needs are, it’s important to choose a smart TV brand that’s 4K-capable with HDR (preferably Dolby Vision or HDR10+) that also has a high refresh rate.
Do you want to upgrade your older TV model with a streaming device? Get an idea of Roku’s full spectrum of streaming devices with our analysis of each of its products. For more information on the affordable Roku Express, we recommend our full review. Although, for just a little extra, you can get the more popular Roku Streaming Stick Plus — see what we think before you buy. Learn about the wireless Roku Ultra, its storage capacity, and other features with our product breakdown.