Review: TCL Roku Smart Television

TCL Roku Smart Television

TCL Roku Smart Television

  • Model No. 40FS3800
  • 40-inch LED, HD, 1080 px, 120-Hz
  • Smart TV with Roku built-in

I’d never heard of TCL televisions until I visited the 2016 CES in Las Vegas. After trudging through miles and miles of exhibits, we sought refuge in a large, relatively quiet booth – the TCL exhibit. We noticed the sleek design of their award-winning flagship model and was taken by the outstanding picture quality, even in this temporary, highly electrified location.

The TCL representative, Patrick, spent some time with us and explained the Roku Smart TV and a bit about the company. It happened that we were already in the market for a television, so I began researching TCL. Wal-Mart and Best Buy advertised TCL products online, but neither had any in stock, or on display, so I wasn’t able to compare picture quality. So, I ended up ordering online from Amazon.

Amazon informed me the television would arrive in 5-8 days; it arrived in just two days. Great! The TV is much lighter and thinner than our prior 32-inch flat-screen. The frame is sleek and does not distract from the screen. It took five minutes to attach the legs using four screws. Then I plugged it in. Put the batteries in the remote and turned it on. I’ll confess right now, I’m no tech wiz and I’ve had all kinds of difficulty and frustration with my Smartphone, it’s tiny little screen and the torture of trying to download apps. So, I was ready for trouble.

TCL claims this is a Smart TV; well, it’s smart enough to ask sensible questions: Did I want to hook-up a DVD player, Blu-Ray and more? Did I want to connect to Wi-Fi? Yes, indeed, that’s what I wanted! Okay, I was told to go find my Modem/Router password. I did as I was told and entered the password using the very simple remote. “Okay, you’re connected,” said the TV. “Would I like to search for channels via antenna?” asks it. “Yes,” says I. “Well, there are none,” says the TV.” (Probably, because I don’t have an antenna.) “Would I like to sign up for some channels?, asks the TV. “Just free channels for now,” says I. So, the television shows me all these nice, big logos of lots of free channels; I click on those I want, then I’m sent a password to enter via the remote and – bingo – I’ have TV shows. I have news. I have movies. But I don’t have everything, yet. And if I subscribe and pay a monthly fee, I can get a whole lot more. But I’m already happy to stretch out and watch what I want.

Wow – look at that picture! Honestly, I can’t imagine how it could be any better. It already looks better, sharper and more vivid than real life. Even up close, there is no fuzzy noise, or speckles as on my old TV. Sound quality is good, if my wife will let me turn it up. And above all,we can now watch only what we choose to watch, when we have the free time to watch. We control the TV; it doesn’t control our life.