TCL’s 55″ 4K UHDTV with Roku Costs Less Than a Smartphone


Who says you have to pay a small fortune for a big screen 4K HDTV? Not Chinese TV maker TCL, one of the largest television producers in the world. The model we’ve been testing is the TCL 55UP130, a 55″ beauty that’s thin and has almost no bezel. That means picture from corner to corner. It also comes with Roku streaming hardware already tcl-remotebuilt in – no need to add a separate gizmo like Amazon’s Fire TV or Apple TV. Using Roku you have access to hundreds of channels and thousands of programs, so cable cutters take note. It comes with the simple Roku remote control which has fewer buttons than most cable box remotes, but still seems to do the job.

tcl-big-screenThe model 55UP130 is a 4K, Ultra High Definition television (UHD). The picture is bright, sharp, and crisp. Is it as sharp as some of the big screen televisions that run ten times the price? Maybe not quite as sharp. But let’s be honest, for many of us over age 50, we’re just happy we can see the set. So far the only place you’re going to find 4K content seems to be from alternative providers like Netflix and Amazon. But the TCL will automatically upscale 2K (HDTV) signals to give them near 4K quality.

The set comes with 4 HDMI ports and has built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity. That gives you plenty of flexibility so you can use one port for cable, another for a Blu Ray player. We use a third together with an Asus VivoStick computer on a stick which we coupled with a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse, creating one great couch based computing experience.

To get even more out of the TCL 55UP130 you can use the remote app from Roku. This will enable you to use your smartphone or tablet as a full function remote, and even send photos and videos from those devices up the big screen. And it will do voice search so you can search for favorite programs by title, source, or even actor. We found that it was easy to navigate among the various inputs and to customize the home screen using the supplied remote.

tcl-2This is a true value proposition. The TCL 55UP130 has a ton of built-in functionality for any television watcher, with or without cable. It is easy to navigate and gives you a great picture. And best thing of all is the price, at $499, or about ten percent the cost of some of those premium sets.


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Gary is an award-winning journalist who has been covering technology since IBM introduced its first personal computer in 1981. Beginning at NBC News, then at ABC News, Ziff Davis, CNN, and Fox Business Network. Kaye has a history of “firsts”. He was the first to bring a network television crew to the Comdex Computer Show, the first technology producer on ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, the first to produce live coverage of the Solar Power International Conference, and the creator of the Fox Business Network signature series, “Three Days In The Valley”. Along the way he created the History Channel Multimedia Classroom. He has been a contributor to both AARP’s website and to AARP radio, as well as to a handful of other print and web-based publications where he specializes in issues involving boomers/seniors and technology. He has been a featured speaker and moderator at industry events such as the Silvers Summit and Lifelong Tech Conferences at CES, the M-Enabling Health Summit, and the What’s Next Baby Boomer Business Summit. His column, “Technology Through Our Eyes” appears in half a dozen newspapers and websites across the country.