Over the past few years, we've liked the simplicity and wide assortment of content offered by Roku TVs, but there's been one major drawback to the Roku smart TV platform: It didn't support 4K video.
All that's changing with the arrival of the first 4K Roku TVs, from Insignia—Best Buy's house brand—and TCL, a growing Chinese TV brand. These new TVs carry comparatively low prices, but there is one potential shortcoming: None of 4K Roku TVs support high dynamic range (HDR), which has the potential to create more vivid, lifelike pictures by improving a TV's contrast, offering extra details in both the brightest and darkest scenes.
All the 4K Roku TVs we've seen so far have many similar features, including quad-core processors, dual-band Wi-Fi, and Roku's smart TV platform, which has a customizable home screen and universal search that combs through 25 streaming services to find movies and TV shows.
A Roku Feed feature lets you track shows and movies you want to watch and get alerts and the price, when they hit a streaming service. There's also a 4K Spotlight Channel, plus a dedicated 4K area in Roku's channel listing for those services that offer 4K content, including Amazon, Netflix, Vudu, and YouTube.
In addition, all Roku TVs come with a Roku-style remote control; there's also a free Roku mobile app for Android and iOS. As with Roku set-top boxes, you'll have some ability to cast videos from the mobile device to the TV, mainly from Netflix and YouTube.
All the 4K Roku TVs we've seen so far have HDMI 2.0 inputs, but not the HDMI 2.0a inputs needed for HDR. All the 4K Roku TVs have HDCP 2.2, the standard required to play 4K movies from a 4K Blu-ray player.
Insignia and TCL 4K Roku TVs
Insignia 4K Roku TVs (available at Best Buy)
- 43-inch Insignia NS-43DR710NA17, $400
- 50-inch Insignia NS-55DR710NA17, $500
- 55-inch Insignia NS-55DR710NA17, $650
TCL 4K Roku TVs
- 55-inch TCL 55US5800, $600
- 65-inch TCL 65US5800, $1,000
- 43-inch TCL 43UP130, $500
- 50-inch TCL 50UP130, $600
- 55-inch TCL 55UP130, $700
- 65-inch TCL 65UP130, $1,100
The S-series TVs can now be preordered at Amazon.com, and they'll be more widely available in stores including Sam's Club, Costco, and Walmart next month and at Target starting in May. The P130 models come with a Roku-based remote control with built-in microphone for voice searches.
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