They may not be household names just yet, but these brands are on the rise, heading for the “heavyweights” division in a few short years.
Five years ago, TCL was barely a blip on the radars of seasoned TV reviewers. Today, it’s the fastest-growing brand out there, offering up 4K and HDR-capable models at preposterously low prices.
Operating system: Roku
TCL isn’t the only company making Roku TVs — Insignia, Sharp, and Hitachi do the same, among other manufacturers — but it has been the most successful so far. We love Roku here at Digital Trends; from the Roku Express to the Roku Ultra, the platform’s vast selection (5,000+) of channels and its snappy cross-app search function are second to none. Roku’s user interface is a little less slick than webOS or Tizen, but we think it works better, and it’s more straightforward.
Calling card: Value
If you’re on a tight budget, but you still want some buttery 4K goodness up in your TV (not to mention HDR), TCL is the way to go. Its 2018 lineup, featuring several improvements over its already-great 2017 collection, has a 65-inch 6-Series model for just $1,000 and a 55-inch model for a ridiculously low $650. Plus, they’re equipped with the latest version of Roku OS, featuring a dedicated Dolby Access channel to show off HDR-laden trailers.
Chinese manufacturer Hisense has been on a tear lately, licensing Sharp’s brand name (and buying its North American factory outright), buying Toshiba’s business, and making TVs under all three names for the U.S. market. Sharp later complained about the quality of Hisense’s production, but eventually dropped the lawsuit.
Operating system: Various
Hisense is unique in that it doesn’t have a singular operating system tied to its line of televisions. Some of its TVs use Android TV, like Sony, some of its TVs use Roku OS, like TCL, and some use VIDAA U, a slick-looking software which you can learn more about here.
Calling card: Variety
Okay, maybe this is something of a cop-out, but Hisense doesn’t have one particular technology or aspect of its TVs to point to and say “this is our signature.” What Hisense does offer is a vast selection of televisions utilizing a wide range of technologies and operating systems, all at great prices (not necessarily TCL-level prices, but great prices nonetheless). If you can afford to splurge for a top-tier TV, you probably don’t need to consider Hisense, but in the midrange, there’s a lot to like here.