Roku And TCL Launching A UK Roku TV With Freeview Play

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Two years after Roku launched its first Roku TV in the UK, a second telly with Roku-built-in is finally launching on our side of the pond, this time in partnership with leading electronics manufacturer – TCL.

The new TCL Roku TV, which was announced today, will come in three picture quality flavours – an HD (720p) model, a Full HD (1080p) model, and a 4K (Ultra HD) version in several sizes. 

All sizes will also come with a Freeview tuner, and will support Freeview Play.

Roku TCL TV home screen

In the US, Roku has been partnering with multiple TV manufacturers since 2014. In the UK, however, the first Roku TV arrived in late 2019, thanks to a partnership with Hisense.

Roku is one of the leading streaming device manufacturers in the US. Worldwide, there have been 53.6 million active Roku accounts in the first quarter of 2021.

In the UK, Roku normally sells set-top streaming devices, the Roku ExpressRoku Express 4K and Roku Streaming Stick+, as well as a soundbar with Roku built in – the Streambar (see our review).

TCL Roku TV: First Look

For its second UK Roku TV, Roku partnered with TCL Electronics, a Chinese consumer electronics company that already sells Roku TV models in the US.

Roku TVs come with Roku’s streaming platform already built into the TV – so when you turn it on, you get right into the main Roku home screen.

From there, you can jump directly to live channels on Freeview (assuming you have an aerial connected – see our recommended indoor aerials), and since the TV also supports Freeview Play, you can also use the Electronic Programme Guide to ‘jump back in time’ thanks to the UK Broadcasters catch-up apps (like BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub).

Unfortunately, the TCL Roku TV will not support Freeview recordings – so there’s no way to record live channels (not even by connecting a USB stick).

In addition to Freeview, once you connect the TV to your broadband, you can run one of the many supported streaming services.

There are thousands of channels (known as “Apps” on other devices) available for the Roku TV – from the big ones like NetflixAmazon Prime Video and NOW, to the UK catch-up services. The main UK service which is still missing is BritBox.

Roku TCL TV cabinet

For price-sensitive buyers, the TCL Roku TVs will have two HD models – the RS520K 32-inch will only support HD (720p), and will have a suggested retail price of £229, while the RS520K 40-inch will support Full HD (1080p), with a price tag of £279.

It’s an interesting choice, since I would very rarely recommend that people buy an HD-only TV these days. Then again, if you’re only looking for high-quality smaller TV for your kitchen, basement or even the bedroom – these at least give you a cheaper option.

Things then move to 4K and Ultra HD with the larger sized models:

  • RP620K 43-inch at £349 
  • RP620K 50-inch at £399 
  • RP620K 55-inch at £449
  • RP620K 65-inch at £549

Both the 4K UHD and HD models support HDR Pro which uses Dynamic Colour Enhancement through 3D LUT technology to deliver vivid colours for all signal types.

Both models will support HDR10 and HLG (the HDR standard used by the BBC), with the 4K model also supporting Dolby Vision HDR.

Curiously, the TCL Roku TV will come with Roku’s “simple” remote – and not the voice-enabled one. Therefore, for voice searching and voice commands you will have to use the Roku smartphone app.

You can, however, control the TCL Roku TV with Alexa and Google Assistant, by pairing them with an external device. You can also use Apple AirPlay 2 to stream content directly from your Apple device.

Where Can I Get The TCL Roku TV?

At launch (and for the foreseeable future), the new TCL Roku TV will be exclusive to Currys. 

All six models will be available soon – though there’s no official time estimate yet – we’ll update once we have a firm date.

For now, consumers can register their interest with Currys, sign up to be the first to hear when the TVs launch and get an exclusive £20 off code.

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