Roku TVs have an excellent track record and are known for offering brilliant value for anyone looking for a budget TV with a massive app offering – but which Roku TV should you buy this Black Friday?
It almost goes without saying that Roku TVs offer a superb operating system packed with all the apps you could need, but the best also deliver a surprisingly excellent picture performance.
Take a look at our run down of the Roku TVs available in the US right now – and our brief explanation of all things Roku – to find out which Roku TV you should buy and, in fact, whether a Roku TV is what you should buy in the first place.
Should you buy a Roku TV?
Roku is one of the most popular TV streaming platforms in the US. Roku TVs combine low cost 4K HDR TV hardware with that Roku OS. In other words, they're low cost TVs with the Roku system built-in.
The beauty is that each has the exact same, easy-to-use Roku OS built-in and that means access to the apps you know and love, such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV, Disney+, Now, DAZN, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount+, Peacock TV, ESPN+ and more.
There are also tonnes and tonnes of more niche channels to explore as well as free premium content on the Roku Channel. The choice is truly impressive and it comes with an excellent search function to make finding your next favourite film or TV show very easy indeed.
Sold? OK then. Which Roku TV should you buy?
Should you buy a Hisense Roku TV?
In the last few years Hisense has made its mark on the world as a purveyor of good value, budget TVs. It's also one of the main two Roku TV hardware brands that you'll find available at stores such as BestBuy (opens in new tab), Walmart (opens in new tab), Costco (opens in new tab) and Amazon (opens in new tab).
Hisense runs three main lines of Roku TVs. The Hisense R-Series Roku TVs are 4K HDR models with value in mind. If you want something more premium, then look out for the Hisense R8 ULED TVs. The Hisense H4 Class Roku TVs are the smaller, 1080p variants of the main Hisense R-Series
Should you buy a Hisense R7 TV?
By far and away the most popular Hisense Roku TVs are the Hisense R7 Series (opens in new tab) models. They're 2021 models available in 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, and they usually cost between $290-$500.
While we haven't reviewed these TVs, they certainly look like decent buys on paper. They're full-array, 4K HDR, LED TVs that support HDR10, HLG and can pass through Dolby Atmos sound if you connected an Atmos-enabled external speaker of some sort. There are two 8W speakers on board but we suspect you'd want a soundbar or such for a better experience.
It's also worth noting that the Hisense R7 has motion processing tech, too, which should help smooth out some judder (but could also look a bit artificial).
Should you buy a Hisense R7 Roku TV?
Quite probably. Judging by the price, the specs and the overwhelmingly positive online reviews, a Hisense R7 TV looks like a very decent bet.
Should you buy a Hisense 32H4?
The decision whether or not to buy a Hisense H4 Class Roku TV is all down to panel size. They're available in 32-inch, 40-inch and 43-inch sizes but the prices are far too close to those of the 4K HDR R7s at the larger end to be worth it.
Is the Hisense H4 Class Roku TV a good deal?
It's only the Hisense 32H4F and Hisense 32H4G5 that we'd suggest you consider, and that's only if you really can't go any bigger than a 32-incher. Do bear in mind that they're only 720p resolution.
Should you buy a Hisense R6 TV?
The R6 Series TVs are Hisense Roku TVs with added Dolby Vision HDR suport. There aren't a huge number around. You'll find some of the 2020 models at Walmart (opens in new tab) and a 55-inch and 65-inch 2021 version on Amazon but they're otherwise not easy to track down.
Is the Hisense R6 TV a good deal?
The 2020 stock is probably worth avoiding but the 2021 R6 TVs look similar to the R7 models on paper. At the time of writing, though, the prices look quite high when the main bump over the R7s appears to be the Dolby Vision addition. Stick with the R7 unless you see an R6 deal that's comparable for the same panel size.
Should you buy a Hisense U6GR TV?
Hisense saves its premium ULED panel technology for its Hisense U6GR series. Mostly found at Costco (opens in new tab), these TVs certainly look interesting for both movie and gaming enthusiasts.
ULED, as much as it sounds like OLED, is not actually a panel tech but more like Hisense's equivalent of Samsung's QLED range – locally dimming, full-array LED TVs with quantum dot colour benefits.
To be clear, we have not reviewed a Hisense ULED but we would expect to see a better picture and probably sound performance too. What's very clear, though, are the extra features that it comes with.
The Hisense U6GR TVs are 4K HDR sets available in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes. They support Dolby Vision and HDMI 2.1 standards such as VRR and ALLM. They have 600nit peak brightness – certainly more than the R-Series but not huge – improved motion processing (at least on paper) and higher-power speaker systems.
Is the Hisense U6G TV a good deal?
The 65-inch Hisense 65U6GR ($690) and 55-inch Hisense 55U6GR ($500) look very good for the money and features involved. As we say, it's hard to tell for sure given we've not reviewed them but they look worthy of closer examination.
Should you buy a TCL Roku TV
TCL has the most exhaustive selection of Roku TVs on the market, ranging from $150-$200 32-inch HD (opens in new tab) models to 4K TVs that are over twice that size and five times that price.
There appear to be quite an overwhelming number to choose from until you realised that they're split into 3-Series, 4-Series, 5-Series and, yes, 6-Series TVs, with the higher the number representing the higher price and (allegedly) enhanced performance.
Should you buy a TCL R635 Roku TV?
The 2021 TCL R635 6-Series Roku TV is one of the company's most popular models, so it's a great place to start your search. It supports Dolby Vision HDR (but not HDR10+) and enhances its QLED panel with Mini-LED backlighting for greater contrast and colour reproduction.
This model also delivers a THX Certified Game Mode, which allows it to compete with some of the best gaming TVs. Built-in Roku TV of course delivers access to a wealth of streaming platforms, including Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max, Peacock, Hulu, Disney+, YouTube, Apple TV+, Vudu, Google Play Movies & TV, Sling TV, Fubo TV, ESPN+, Paramount+, Spotify and more.
Should you buy a TCL R635 6-Series Roku TV?
Again, these are not TVs we've had in for review. However, we've loved Mini LED backlighting tech where we've seen it so far and with TCL offering it at these panel sizes and prices, they definitely look worth your time – particularly if you spot a healthy discount.
Should you buy a TCL S535 5-Series Roku TV?
Prefer something a little cheaper? The 2021 S535 could be the best TCL Roku TV for you. The main difference compared to the 6-Series is the loss of the Mini LED backlighting. However, these are still QLED sets and one would hope for a decent picture performance.
The S535 supports Dolby Vision as well as HDR10 and HLG. On the downside, it only uses a 60Hz panel – the R635 uses a 120Hz panel – which could be a consideration for gamers.
Should you buy a TCL S535 5-Series Roku TV?
There's definitely money to be saved here with a few hundred dollars between the same panel sizes of 6-Series and 5-Series. While we're reasonably confident that TCL won't let you down with the 5-Series, we'd encourage that extra spend, if possible, take make sure that you're getting the picture that you deserve. Cast your eye over the deals below...
Should you buy a TCL S435 Roku TV?
The TCL 4-Series and 3-Series TVs are the bargain basement options, but don't let that put you off. If you want small-spend but high-value, they look promising options for Roku TVs.
The difference between the two is largely down to resolution and screen size. The TCL 4-Series models are the least expensive 4K HDR Roku TVs you'll find and are available in 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch and even a colossal 75-inch size. Best of all, it's only $800 to get in on that super-screen action.
Should you buy a TCL S435 Roku TV?
The S435 might not boast a QLED panel or Dolby Vision support, but it does deliver an incredibly affordable 4K HDR experience with built-in Roku TV smarts. You won't find much cheaper from a recognised TV name at 4K. Any deals are worth paying attention to.
Should you buy a TCL S335 Roku TV?
TCL's 3-series range offers options for those with smaller budget and tighter spaces.
If you're on the hunt for a kitchen TV at a bargain price, look no further than the 32-inch TCL 32S335. We called it "Small, smart and really rather good for the money", praising its "excellent apps and OS", "lively color palette" and "well-balanced audio".
Despite its size, it's still a 1080p TV. You can always up the size to the very reasonable 40-inch TCL 40S325 Roku TV.
We've also spotted a great deal on the 55-inch TCL 55S21 Roku TV, which is down to $228 in Walmart's early Black Friday sale. This app-happy model is a Walmart exclusive and offers support for HDR10 and HLG, plus four HDMI inputs (including one eARC) for devices such as soundbars and games consoles.
You might have to order this TV online and then pick it up in-store, but if you can get it for the crazy-low price of $288, it's well worth the trip. Check Walmart's website to see whether your local store has stock available.
TCL 55S21 55-inch 4K HDR Roku TV $288 at Walmart (opens in new tab)
On a performance-per-pound basis, this TV could be hard to beat. The integrated Roku platform means the set is packed with streaming apps and easy to use, while the HDMI eARC connection is ideal for use with games consoles.
Roku's smart platform is an easy win when combined with both the Hisense and TCL hardware that carries it in the US. You get all the apps and services you could need, the potential for great picture performance and a very easy-to-use experience.
The best advice we can give is to pick up a well-priced soundbar to accompany whichever you buy. Both could do with a lift on the audio side. Those low prices don't quite pay for everything.
And if a new TV is out of the question, then don't forget that you can add Roku OS and all its apps to any TV you already own by purchasing a Roku streaming stick to plug into an HDMI socket.