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For over a decade, I watched my mom fuss and fight with a finicky, rapidly aging TV. A few months ago, I decided that enough was enough: my mom deserved a better TV.
We loved that old Toshiba. It wasn’t 4K, it didn’t support HDR, and the user interface was confusing, but we’d watched some sensational season finales on it over the years, to say nothing of the great sports moments that graced its screen. When the time came to pick out a new TV for my mom, the least I could do was choose one with 4K, HDR support, and an easy user experience. The 2019 TCL 4-Series checks all of these boxes—and does so for a ridiculously low price.
With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, perhaps the time's come for you to replace your mom’s finicky old TV. If you’re searching for an affordable, reliable TV that your whole family will appreciate, the TCL 4-Series is well worth a look.
4K resolution and HDR support
My mom's old TV proudly displayed its technological bonafides in the form of a badge that proclaimed itself "1080p ready." In 2007, to be a full-HD TV was to lead the pack.
These days, you'd be hard pressed to find a non-4K TV on the shelves at your local Best Buy. What you can find in abundance, however, are people from all walks of life whose TVs top out at a full-HD resolution (1920x1080). It's completely understandable, too—TVs are premium purchases and most of them are built to last. That said, because it's harder to find a non-4K TV than it is to find a good, entry-level 4K TV, there's never been a better time to upgrade.
The TCL 4-Series is one of the most affordable 4K TVs you can buy. If your family, like my mom, is upgrading to 4K for the first time, the improvements will be noticeable immediately. And, while the 4-Series doesn't get bright enough for its HDR performance to be all that it's cracked up to be, it nevertheless supports HDR, which is a nice feature to hang your hat on.
Our favorite smart platform, Roku, is built-in
Of all the available streaming devices on the market today, Roku is by far our favorite. The software is fast, the menus are wonderfully easy to navigate, and there's a vast library of supported apps in the Roku Channel Store to pick and choose from. This means that everyone in our family can tailor their TV time however they see fit. If, say, my mom decides to listen to Spotify on a whim, she can find it in the Channel Store and download it for free. Since the platform sees a steady flow of software updates, the experience rarely goes awry.
Being a Roku TV, the TCL 4-Series also comes with the ultra-simple Roku remote control, which is quite possibly the best clicker in the industry. I would know, too, since I inherited my mom's distaste for remote controls with dozens of small, hard-to-read buttons. But if voice control is more your family's speed, there's always the Roku mobile app, which isn't required, but definitely rounds out the Roku experience.
The bottom line? The smart platform built into the TCL 4-Series outpaces most of the smart platforms built into some of the most expensive TVs money can buy. And if it's good enough for me—someone who's forced to use smart platforms every day for work—it's certainly good enough for my mom.
The price is right
The slam-dunk value of the TCL 4-Series, as well as its reputable smart platform, are almost certainly why this TV sold like hotcakes in 2019. A year later, it's looking like a better deal than ever: The 55-inch TCL 4-Series can be had for about $280, if you know where to look. There's also 43-, 50-, 65-, and 75-inch variants available, all with varying (but equally affordable) price tags. If you're worried about buying a year-old TV model, allow me to quell your fears: The TCL 4-Series is still a sensible purchase, and should stay that way for years to come.
In the months since I gifted it to her, my mom's had nothing but great things to say about it. "The inputs actually work," she marvels. "I don't have to repeatedly press the buttons on the remote," she adds. "I know where to find everything," she says, echoing the very same thoughts I've had countless times while using the TV's Roku software.
It's great for streaming, it's great for cable TV, and it's great for Blu-rays. In other words, the TCL 4-Series is a great TV for my mom.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.