When it comes to affordable 4K TVs, one brand comes to mind and that’s TCL. Their 6-Series Roku TVs offer great picture quality at an affordable price and were recently refreshed for 2020.
I’ve been using their 55-inch 6-Series (2020 model) for a little while and it’s still one of the best TVs available.
Design & Hardware
For the design of the refresh 6-Series, TCL didn’t stray away too much from the design of their 2018 model. The exterior of the new 6-Series has metal accents and minimal bezels to give you more screen real estate.
Each of the legs on the TV has built-in cable management which is helpful, unless you’re cables are on the thicker side. The speakers on the TV are good but you’ll want to get a soundbar or sound system for even better sound quality.
Powering the new 6-Series is a dual-core processor and dual-core GPU, with 802.11ac 2×2 Dual-Band Wi-Fi. I wish TCL would have improved the Wi-Fi to maybe quad-band to help improve internet connections.
New for this year is the AiPQ Engine, this will basically automatically optimize colour, contrast for even better clarity and picture quality. The AiPQ Engine is using machine-learning algorithms to determine the best viewing experience on screen.
The TV offers a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (aka 4K), which displays more than a billion colours. In terms of picture quality, the 6-Series looks great with deep blacks, brighter whites, thanks to the 240 Contrast Control Zones with mini-LED backlighting. All of this helps make colours pop on the screen.
To help make things brighter, the TV is using a technology called QLED (aka Quantum Dot), which produces a wide colour and striking contrast. For HDR technologies, the new 6-Series supports Dolby Vision HDR HDR10 and HLD HDR technologies, as well as Dolby Atmos sound.
For ports, there are now four HDMI 2.0 ports (with HDMI 4 being the eARC port for soundbars) with support for Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), cable in, Ethernet, USB, AV, headphone jack and Optical Audio Out.
The new TCL 6-Series is one of the first TVs to offer THX Certified Game Mode which adds features like Variable Refresh Rate, Auto Game Mode. The THX Game Mode is automatically enabled when you start up a game console but can be turned off in the display settings by pressing the * button on the remote.
Having the Variable Refresh Rate is helpful to have when connecting next-gen consoles like the Xbox Series X and PS5 and even PCs that support it. But one thing to note is that the TV does support 120 fps gaming but only at 1440p resolution. If you want the full 4K 120fps, you’ll need a TV that has HDMI 2.1.
Pricing for the new 6-Series is as follows:
- 55-inch (55R635-CA) – $899 CAD
- 65-inch (65R635-CA) – $1299 CAD
- 75-inch (75R635-CA) – $1999 CAD
You can pick up the new 6-Series from the following retailers in Canada.
The new 6-Series is running Roku OS 9.4, which brings a number of improvements that are mostly behind the scenes. One thing I did notice is that sometimes Roku OS would take a few seconds extra to load things or even switch inputs or go to the homescreen. This might have something to do with the processor or Roku OS itself might need a bit more horsepower.
The actual look and feel of Roku OS haven’t changed, you still have the Home, My Feed, Search, Streaming Channels and Settings on the left and all your installed channels on the right in a grid that you can rearrange.
Since the 6-Series comes with a Roku voice remote, you can use your voice to control your TV by holding the mic button down. You can open apps or switch inputs using your voice. And some apps like YouTube lets you voice search using the remote.
The previous 9.3 update brought support to control your Roku TV or player with the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa devices. Now the 9.4 adds the ability to control your Roku device with Siri and integrate it into the Home app on your iPhone or iPad.
With your voice assistant of choice, you can use your voice to change channels, switch inputs, volume up/down and switch your TV on/off. And if you have an iOS or Mac, you can now stream content to your Roku TV using AirPlay 2 including screen mirroring.
The other way to control your TCL 6-Series is with the Roku app on Android or iOS. The app has been given a slight makeover, it’s now divided into three sections, What’s On, Remote and Devices.
What’s On shows you newly release shows and movies and recommendations as well as some free content options via the Roku Channel.
Remote is pretty self-explanatory, it lets you control your TV or Roku player with the app. It’s also where you can activate Private Listening to send audio from your TV to headphones connected to your phone.
Devices show you all the connected Roku devices tied to your account, so if you have multiple TVs or players, you can choose which you want to control.
In terms of streaming apps, Roku supports most streaming services including Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, Crave and more are being added every few months.
As I’ve said in my past reviews of Roku devices, I like the simplicity of Roku but the look is just feeling a bit outdated. I think it’s in need of a bit of a visual update, especially when you compare it to other streaming devices like the Chromecast with Google TV or the latest Fire TV experience.
The TCL 6-Series (2020) is a great 4K TV that offers good value for money and excellent picture quality.
- Beautiful display with minimal bezels
- Great 4K picture quality
- HDR10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support
- Great value for money
- 4 HDMI ports
- Easy to use UI
- Voice control on remote works well (as does Google Assistant and Alexa support)
- No 4K 120fps support for Xbox Series X & PS5
- Wi-Fi hasn’t improved over the previous model
- Roku OS interface seems slightly dated visually