Roku is a name that has become ubiquitous with streaming media players. They’ve got set-top boxes, soundbars, and sticks you can plug into your TV to make it smart—but what if the entire TV could be a Roku?
The majority of streaming media players on the market are those devices that plug into an HDMI port on your TV. However, a few companies make TVs that skip the middle man for a more integrated and seamless experience.
The concept of a Roku TV is really pretty simple. Every smart TV has some sort of interface for getting to your TV channels and launching apps. What if that interface was the same one found on Roku devices?
A Roku TV is simply a TV with the Roku software built-in. Rather than plugging in a Roku box or stick and accessing it from a single HDMI input, a Roku TV is Roku all the way down. There’s no switching inputs to get to the Roku home screen. The Roku home screen is the default home screen for everything.
That means your cable box, Blu-ray player, and anything else plugged in to an HDMI port will show up on the Roku home screen. And you only have one remote to worry about. The Roku remote isn’t just capable of controlling the TV—it literally is the TV remote.
Roku itself doesn’t make the TV hardware. Companies such as TCL, Hisense, Philips, and several others make the TV and use Roku’s software in place of their own. Simply put, a Roku TV is a smart TV that runs the Roku software. No external devices required.
Roku TV vs Roku Streaming Device
There are a number of pros and cons of having an integrated Roku TV compared to a Roku streaming device. Let’s start with the advantages.
As mentioned, you never have to switch inputs to get to the Roku interface. To use the Blu-ray player connected to your TV, you simply launch that input from the Roku home screen. You can go right back to the Roku home screen when you’re done. Also, this works with just one remote. You don’t need to hunt for your TV remote to switch inputs.
If you do a lot of switching between devices connected to your TV, having the Roku software be the default home screen makes it much, much easier. This is why Roku TVs are a popular choice for people who may not be as comfortable with technology.
There are some disadvantages, though. People typically use a TV for several years, so if the Roku software starts feeling sluggish, you’re kind of stuck with it unless you want to buy an entirely new TV. (Of course, the same is true for any other smart TV’s operating system.) External streaming devices are cheaper and much easier to upgrade independently of your TV.
For something that’s super easy to use, an integrated Roku TV is the way to go. However, if you care a lot about the quality of your TV, you may not want to limit yourself to the ones with Roku built-in. A Roku streaming device can be plugged into any TV and easily move to a new one.
Best Roku TV
Like any TV, there are a lot of options when it comes to Roku TVs. There’s a Roku TV at nearly every size, resolution, and price point. That’s the first thing to think about when buying one. Figure out the non-Roku specifics, then find a Roku TV that matches up with them.
As of July 2022, our pick for the best TV with Roku is the TCL 6-Series R635. The 6-Series comes in 55, 65, and 75-inch sizes, all at 4K UHD resolution. It’s also a Mini-LED screen, which is a step up from the common LCD panels.
There are plenty of other great Roku TVs to choose from. You can find Roku TVs at Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, and pretty much any place that sells TVs. It’s a great way to enjoy the Roku experience without so many moving parts.
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