TCL is undoubtedly 1 of the most popular budget TV brands.
You can get a 50-inch model for less than $500.
And smaller TVs even cost half of that.
Surely, this makes you wonder:
“Who makes such affordable tech? And are they any good?”
Continue reading to find out:
- Who makes TCL TVs.
- The 5 pros and 3 cons of getting a TCL TV.
- What TCL TV stands for and if buying it is still worth it.
- And this is just the beginning…
Who makes TCL TVs?
TCL Electronic Holdings Ltd makes TCL TVs. This company originated from Huizhou, China in 1981. And since then, it has evolved into 1 of the top tech companies. TCL currently has 6 different production lines worldwide. But its primary manufacturing facility is located in Shenzhen, China.
What does TCL TV stand for?
TCL TV stands for Telephone Communication Limited TV.
However, this wasn’t the original name of the company.
See, when this TV manufacturer was founded in 1981…
It was under the brand name TTK.
And it was known as a state-owned audio cassette manufacturer.
But after being sued by TDK, a Japanese corporation…
The company was rebranded as TCL.
Fun fact: In 2004, this company became a publicly listed enterprise. That means most TCL shares are now freely traded by people in the general public.
Are TCL TVs any good?
TCL TVs are good. Models from the brand can last for up to 7 years. And TCL TVs also come in various screen resolutions. So, they can surely fit in with any household. Most TCL models also come with a built-in Roku interface. Which makes them extremely easy to use.
Now, a lot of people think otherwise.
After all, TCL TVs are way cheaper than models from other brands.
However, trust me. These TVs are cheap, not because the company compromised their quality. But because their production costs are much lower compared to others.
And to elaborate further, here are…
Top 3 reasons TCL TVs are so cheap
#1: Vertical integration
This is a business strategy where…
A company covers most of its products’ manufacturing process. So, little to no outsourcing is needed.
For example, instead of buying tech parts from other manufacturers…
TCL personally creates the following for its TVs:
- Screen panels.
Note: Manufacturers add a price markup when they sell TV parts to other companies. So by avoiding outsourcing as much as possible, TCL saves more money.
Here’s a video that further explains how vertical integration works:
Now, unlike TCL…
Other big companies like LG and Samsung often outsource their TV parts. Especially the screen panels. So, their TVs are much more expensive than those from TCL.
#2: It’s not a luxury brand
Right from the start…
TCL never marketed its TVs as luxurious products.
Instead, the company wanted to sell its models as budget-friendly appliances.
Now, this lowers the brand’s profit per model sold.
However, since TCL TVs’ low price also attracts more customers…
The company still earns enough in the long run.
#3: Integration of the Roku software
All Smart TVs have an Operating System (OS).
And this acts as the brain of your device.
For Samsung, that’s Tizen, a software the brand made uniquely for its TVs.
And for LG, WebOS is the most popular Operating System.
See, these 2 giant TV manufacturers create custom interfaces for their products.
And since that increases the cost of their Research and Development process…
They also charge more for their TVs.
Now, unlike the brands mentioned above…
TCL outsourced the software for its devices. Specifically, the company bought rights to the Roku interface instead.
Getting this Operating System is much cheaper than creating a new one from scratch. So, TCL saves more money in the long run.
Further reading: 7 Surprising Reasons Why TCL TVs Are So Cheap
TCL TVs: Pros and cons
TCL TVs have their advantages and disadvantages, just like any other device.
So, let’s dive into the specifics by starting with the…
Top 5 pros of getting a TCL TV
The biggest advantage of getting this device is its low price.
See, among other budget TVs like those from Hisense or Insignia…
TCL models are still cheaper in comparison.
You’ll see that the latter is at least $50 cheaper than the former.
The rest of their features are similar. Because they’re both 50-inches 4K TVs.
So, this just shows that if you’re on a budget…
TCL TVs will always be your best bet.
#2: Intuitive Operating System
As mentioned earlier, most TCL TVs run using the Roku interface.
And luckily, this is 1 of the easiest software to use, even for beginners.
See, this interface was designed as simply as possible.
For example, regardless of where you are on the Roku menu…
You’ll usually see the options on the left side of your screen. And app tiles will appear on the right side. As a result, you won’t be confused when navigating your TV.
And to add to the user-friendliness of this device…
#3: Picture quality
Many people think that because TCL TVs are so cheap…
They won’t have high-quality pictures.
But that assumption is simply far from the truth.
See, despite being so cheap, TCL TVs still have:
- Vibrant colors.
- Great contrast ratio.
- High-resolution (including 4K).
#4: Smart features
Thanks to the beginner-friendly Roku interface…
Most TCL TVs have many smart features that make streaming more fun and convenient.
See, models from the brand allow you to:
- Use Alexa and Google Assistant.
- Control your Smart TV from an app.
- Access more than 500,000 movies and episodes (some are for free).
And these features are similar to what you would get from more expensive TVs.
Compared to most models from other brands, TCL TVs have bulkier frames. So, they’re more protected against physical damage.
And thanks to the durability of their materials…
TCL TVs usually last 5-7 years with regular, daily use.
And this is comparable to the lifespan of models from other famous brands like:
TCL TVs also come with a 1-2 year warranty. So, rest assured that devices from the brand won’t fall short when it comes to durability.
And now that you know what makes TCL TVs good, it’s time to talk about the…
Top 3 cons of getting a TCL TV
#1: Low brightness
Unfortunately, TCL TVs usually have low maximum brightness.
So, if you prefer streaming shows/movies in a bright room…
You might have difficulty seeing the content on your screen with a TCL TV.
However, know that this is a regular occurrence with models costing less than $500.
Because most manufacturers use minimal lighting with budget TVs.
Pro tip: Dim your room lights or turn them OFF when watching on your TCL TV. This way, your screen’s display won’t fade due to your bright surroundings.
#2: Narrow viewing angles
When you look at a TCL TV from the front of the device…
You’ll see the whole display without any problems.
However, if you try sitting too far to the side while watching your TV…
You’ll notice that some parts of the screen will appear darker.
See, this happens because TCL TVs have a narrow viewing angle. Which means you’ll only see the optimal picture quality of the display if you’re watching from the front.
#3: Motion blur
Devices with screens usually have something called a refresh rate.
And this refers to how many times your display refreshes per second.
Note: The higher this value is, the better. Because you’ll see a smooth display even if you’re watching a fast-paced movie or game.
Now, most high-end TVs have a refresh rate of 120 Hz.
However, TCL TVs usually only have 60 Hz. As a result, their motion blur is much more noticeable in these devices.
Bonus: Weak speakers
TCL TVs have high picture quality, as mentioned.
But their speakers usually fall short compared to more expensive brands. Or even budget TVs.
For example, another budget-friendly TV, Hisense 32H5500F, has 6W built-in speakers.
On the other hand…
A similarly-priced TCL TV, 32S325, only has 5W speakers.
But fortunately, there’s still a way to work around this problem.
If you like TCL TVs but aren’t too fond of their weak speakers…
You may simply include a TCL soundbar with your big screen.
This external audio device is almost twice as loud as your TV’s built-in speakers.
And you can buy it for only $100.
So, I highly recommend buying it for your TCL TV. Especially if you’re an audiophile like me.
Related reading: 9 Ways To Fix The TCL TV No Sound Issue (Guide)
Are TCL TVs worth it?
TCL TVs are worth it. These devices are some of the best budget TVs in the market. So, your display will have a high picture quality despite paying a very low price.
Of course, there are some downsides to getting this affordable device, including having:
- Weaker speakers.
- Narrow viewing angles.
- A low maximum brightness.
But honestly, all of these cons are understandable. Because most budget TVs have these flaws as well.
Moreover, there are easy workarounds to counter these disadvantages.
To get the best viewing experience out of your TCL TV, you can simply follow these tips:
- Watch the TV from a straight angle.
- Don’t use your device in a room that’s too bright.
- Stream in a quiet environment or add a soundbar to your TV.
These easy workarounds counter the cons of TCL TVs.
So, if you follow them…
You won’t even notice that your TCL TV only costs several hundred bucks.