There's little doubt that we're moving into an era of gaming where 4K and HDR capabilities are going to become a must for everyone, much the way HD practically became the norm in the mid-'00s. We've been poking around, looking for the best gaming television we could find from someone who usually finds their way onto top 10 lists. In a lot of the lists we found online, Roku TV's seemed to be favored within the top 5 a lot, so we managed to snag a TCL 55" version for review with gaming units.
Let's start with the basics for those of you who are curious. This TV weighs about 30 lbs. and is one of the sleeker flatscreens you'll see on the market. The monitor comes with two stands for the base but nothing to mount it, however, there is a mountain panel on the back that can fit with most designs on the market. The TV doesn't heat up as much as you might suspect, in fact, it tends to be a moderate amount that you might expect from an Xbox or PS4 that's been running for a few hours. The TV only comes with the power cord, an RCA converter cord, and a remote control specifically designed to interact with the Roku menu. It is 4k and HDR ready, meaning all of your consoles will have the best picture quality right from the start.
The reason this is sitting on a lot of gamer lists is that of the flexibility to add material to the console. As you can see from the side-panel on the back (below) you have three HDMI ports, a USB, an RCA input, coaxial cable port, audio out for stereos or headphones, Ethernet, and a fiber out. The shorthand version of this for gamers is that you can plug in your PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One X all into the TV without hassle, and still have the ability to hook up a fourth system through the RCA or USB, along with whatever TV viewing options you have via the coaxial. That is exactly what I did as I was able to hook up a couple retro units and an HDTV antenna into the mix.
As you can see from the menu below, you're able to program in all three game systems into the primary menu. All you need to do is select the source after you power it on and it will go right there. When you power off a console, it will bring you to a screen saying it's off, which will take you back to the main menu. I was also able to add the antenna to the options so I could move over to the TV side of things easily, along with all the apps I use regularly on the Roku system.
Everything is operated by the remote you see below, which is a modified version of a Roku remote. I've owned a Roku 3 for a few years now and have become used to the idea of having everything operated by this controller (which also acts as a game controller when you turn it sideways), with the volume and mute buttons on the side. The one major difference some of you may notice from this controller compared to other versions is there is no headphone option. Other models usually have a jack on the side of the remote so you can listen to whatever you're watching in private, but this remote has elmininated that option.
Below are a few photos taken of the picture quality from when I reviewed the Xbox One X on the Roku TV, and as you can see, the picture quality is amazing. I have very few things to complain about as far as gaming and watching home media goes, the only real issue is sometimes getting things to recognize that there is a 4K and HDR option. A couple times when using my PS4, it had issues finding the HDR option and had to restart my system to make it work. Is that a flaw in Sony or TCL? There's no way to be certain either way. I will say that the Switch, which doesn't really utilize either option, looks fantastic and better than the smaller monitor it comes with. playing games like Mario Kart 8 and Xenoblade Warriors 2 was an interesting experience, and The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild was incredible to check out.
Overall, I can't really complain about the TCL Roku TV beyond one missing option. On several other models of HDTVs, there's an option these days to utilize the antenna if it had UHF/VHF capabilities and use it as a radio tuner. You can pick up all your AM/FM options, as well as HD radio channel options as well. The Roku TV doesn't have this option, nor are there any apps/streaming channels that utilize it. It would be nice if the next time they update the software in a major way, a tuner option was included. As far as price goes, you can snag this TV for $400, which is not a terrible price to be asking for considering all the other options out there that don't cater to gaming or home media as much. If you're looking for a new gaming TV, this is a viable option!