Roku TVs have typically been an ideal choice for an economical second TV, or an excellent option if you prioritize ease-of-use over display quality. However the new TCL P-Series moves Roku TVs up several rungs into premium 4K territory – and for a good price. It pairs a excellent 4K picture (made better by Dolby Vision HDR) with Roku’s excellent software. The viewing experience you get out of this $599 TV is on par with sets that cost several times as much. There’s no glaring weakness found in the P-Series. After a few weeks and several hours spent reviewing the 55-inch model, I’ve didn’t uncover any deal-breakers or conditions that would restrain a gleaming recommendation.
TCL’s P-Series is a exceptional win for budget-conscious consumers. You’re not “settling” or sacrificing a lot of anything regarding specs or features with this TV. It’s got local-area dimming (an attribute often reserved for pricier sets), 4K resolution, HDR, and intuitive, familiar software with quick access to all the favorite streaming software you’d need.
Pulling TCL’s P-Series from the box, your first impression of the surface is going to be that it looks just just like a $600 Roku TV. The bezels are glossy black plastic that may quickly grab fingerprints and fine scratches. But they’re thin and really should all but disappear to your eye when something’s on the screen. I tested the 55-inch model, as small (50-inch) and larger (65-inch) versions don’t ship until later this season, and TCL hasn’t even announced pricing for them.
Included with it is a remote like the one which includes Roku’s standalone boxes. It’s got a headphone jack and mic for voice search, plus shortcut buttons for Netflix, Sling, Hulu, and Starz. I must say i wish Roku would just stop with the paid-placement favorites and let users customize these buttons already, or at least change either Sling or Starz to Amazon – a far more popular service. But hey, at least additionally you get a couple of earbuds in the box.
Attaching both, silver plastic feet to it takes less than 5 minutes. Power the P-Series on and you’ll tell you the Roku OS setup process practically as fast. If you’ve used a Roku streaming box before, you really know what to anticipate: create a merchant account, start downloading software like Netflix and Amazon Video, and you’re off. Since Roku’s software can be the TV’s operating-system, you’ll choose which inputs you intend to use (HDMI, antenna, etc.) and will rename your HDMI ports to “cable” or “Xbox” and things other persons in your own home will understand. Talking about which, the P-Series has 3 HDMI 2.0 ports, and all are fully HDCP 2.2-compliant to make sure compatibility with 4K and HDR content. The generous mixture of other ports you get are coax (for cable or an antenna), Ethernet, optical music out, USB 2.0, AV in, and 3.5-mm audio tracks out. There are no component inputs on it itself, but an included splitter cable works extremely well for all those connections. I never had a need to plug in over Ethernet, as the 802.11ac Wi-Fi constantly proved fast enough for reliable 4K streaming on my home network.
II really like Roku as the underlying software for a good TV. It’s very quickly and responsive, and is a lot more than capable of assisting you find something to view – and see what your very best option is for streaming it. There are always a couple of nice little touches, too, just like the live preview that appears when you hover over an HDMI input on the house screen. That’s ideal for an instant check of whether your gaming console is powered on for no reason. Cord cutters with an antenna will appreciate the choice to pause live TV if indeed they have a USB storage device plugged in. I didn’t test drive it that way, however; I centered on using the TCL P-Series as a full time income room showcase for 4K streaming. And what an extraordinary display it is.
The screen itself has 72 “contrast control zones,” which is TCL’s name for full-array local dimming (or FALD). FALD allows it to dim or brighten the backlight behind individual areas (or “zones”) of the display predicated on the current scene, leading to deeper blacks and better contrast. Vizio offers full-array local dimming in a few of its economical TVs, but a great many other televisions in this cost range lack it. It’s an enormous part of why is the P-Series look so excellent, but it’s just one single piece. Sometimes the dimming could be a little aggressive, however, so hopefully TCL will fine-tune the FALD performance through firmware updates.
TCL can be supporting HDR with this TV; both Dolby Vision and HDR10 could be streamed from applications such as for example Netflix or Amazon Video (or 4K Blu-ray players) offering the increased picture. For a $600 TV, the P-Series will get astoundingly bright with HDR mode enabled, and it provides an expanded color range aswell. It’s not quite the entire DCI-P3 gamut that pricier sets support, but you’ll definitely spot the wider palette. Which means you’re not simply getting an HDR TV in name or marketing lingo only; TCL’s performance offers above any expectations I had because of this TV going in. Could it be on par with an $2,000 OLED or the most effective LCDs? No, but a whole lot of folks will still find the picture to be tremendous for the price.
Once you’ve finished with the Dolby Vision movies available from Vudu and also have been through shows like Sneaky Pete or THE PERSON in the High Castle, you’ll probably end up looking for other HDR content anywhere you will find it. (I would recommend Chef’s Table on Netflix as just one single little bit of demo material.) A logo briefly appears in the most notable to confirm whenever HDR content has been played.
Gamers may also be satisfied, as the P-Series offers a number of the lowest input lag around on a 4K TV when you toggle on the overall game mode setting. Doing this disables full-array local dimming, and Roku plainly admits that display quality requires a slight hit, but I hardly ever really saw any clear dip if you ask me playing Xbox One S and PS4. Battlefield 1 was a joy, and I never noticed any delay whatsoever when pulling on the trigger.
Picture settings could be personalized for every single individual input, and the Roku remote doesn’t feel as restrictive as you may expect: you can pull up the TV’s settings with the asterisk button for all your common adjustments (brightness, picture mode, etc.) and switch to the Roku smartphone iphone app if you need deeper calibration options. The mobile iphone app can even be used similar to the physical remote. It’s got the same simple layout and even the choice to pay attention privately by syncing music from streaming programs to your phone – exactly like in the event that you had headphones connected to using the remote.
ThereThere are areas where in fact the P-Series budget price introduces some compromises. For just one, the TV’s viewing angles are incredibly unforgiving, with blacks and colors getting beaten up as you move from a center, straight-on position. They never degrade to the idea to be unwatchable, but it’s evidently noticeable. If you’re planted on a couch before it, you won’t view it. If you’re in the corner of a tiny room, you will. The built-in speakers are simply okay, as may be the status quo nowadays. And then there’s the problem of quality assurance. Disappointed buyers at AVSforum already are reporting that they’ve received units with backlight bleed, uniformity issues, blooming, and other annoyances.