Pack a Roku 4 streaming box into a television and you get the TCL P130 series, the latest Roku TV with 4K resolution.
True to form, Chinese TV maker TCL has announced some of the least-expensive 4K TVs you can buy. It's actually offering two different series, the US5800 and the P130. The main difference, aside from styling, is that the 5800 has a standard remote while the P130 gets the "enhanced" remote with voice search, a remote finder, and a headphone jack for private listening, just like the Roku 4 streamer.
Both series integrate Roku's superb platform right into the TV's operating system, offering the simplest interface and the most apps of any smart TV on the market. Like the Roku 4, the TVs have access to more 4K streaming services than any non-Roku device, including Netflix, Amazon Instant, YouTube, Vudu, M-Go, UltraFlix and more. The TVs aren't compatible with HDR, but we don't expect that for these prices.
Roku also makes 4K streams easier to find. A 4K Spotlight app showcases individual 4K TV shows, movies and videos from various services (except Netflix) and there's a section of the app store that breaks out 4K apps.
Beyond the 4K features the new TCL sets are very similar to standard 1080p resolution Roku TVs, with no major picture-enhancing extras to speak of. And just because they're 4K resolution doesn't mean they'll look any better than standard HDTVs. In our review of the Roku 4 streaming box, we had a tough time telling the difference between the 4K and non-4K streams from Netflix, for example, and that was on a very large (75-inch) TV.
Here's the full lineup:
TCL 4K Roku TVs
TCL's reps told me there's no picture quality difference between the two series. The only differences are the remote and styling.
The TCL sets can be connected to external 4K devices via HDMI, such as 4K Blu-ray players, and have 60Hz refresh rates. These are the first Roku TVs to offer wired Ethernet in addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, a welcome option given the higher bandwidth requirements of 4K streaming. TCL also showed me a cool extra: the sets are the first Roku TVs to incorporate advanced picture settings like multi-point color temperature control, which are accessible via the Roku smartphone app.
The TCL Roku TVs are available for pre-order at Amazon starting today, with a additional nationwide retailers launching in April. Insignia, Best Buy's house brand, is also selling 4K Roku TVs, and in our reviews of both brands last year image quality was very similar.