I wasn’t the only member of the Zatz family that picked up a new television this season. And, unlike my Vizio experience, Mom has been quite pleased with the two TCL Roku TVs I chose for her. Of course, her expectations and tolerances in this realm are far more, uh, relaxed than most of our regulars – so context is indeed important.
Upon moving from Florida to Virginia in 2013, I had Mom unload her truly crappy living room television while hanging onto her 32″ bedroom Vizio with an understanding that we’d come up with a more modern solution once she furnished her NoVA condo. As the furnishing have now (mostly) arrived, it was time to identify new televisions for the bedroom and the living room, with the Vizio earmarked for the den/office. I originally thought a pair of 42″ HDTVs might do the trick and figured she’d benefit from the same manufacturer, remote, and interface. With that in mind, my original thought for practicality was to pick up whatever Vizio model Costco had on the floor. She’d had good luck with her original Vizio and Costco includes a stellar warranty and technical support.
Obviously, I ended up switching gears as the TCL Roku TV hit… to good reviews. My thought process was that we could remove her hand-me-down Roku (as my aversion to clutter is hereditary) and, given the television’s interface, further limit “Input” confusion as Cable TV and DVD would become tiles in the UI. (Keep in mind her Vizio remote has a cheat sheet taped to the back reminding her which inputs do what.) In the course of setting things up, we discovered that the TV can be configured launch straight into cable television versus the Roku Home screen or even the prior input – further smoothing the experience. So, in this case, I clearly chose usability over picture quality that would not have been appreciated.
From Mom herself:
I’m very sorry you weren’t pleased with your new TV. As for me, ignorance is bliss. I don’t know enough about how my TV should function to be disappointed … and my expectations are so basic that I wouldn’t know if it wasn’t performing as I should expect. Also, I’m comparing its upgrade with my smaller 8 year old TV.
She goes on to say that she’s quite pleased with the TCL Roku TV picture – specifically the colors. Old ladies also like it loud and she’s more than satisfied with the internal speakers. Related, she prefers the vertical volume indicator over the Vizio’s horizontal one which sometimes hid her ticker or Comcast mini guide. Beyond that, something in the UI beeps at her as she moves around and she appreciates the auditory feedback (even though it’s something you and I would have certainly disabled). On the hardware front, she says it powers on/off much faster than her old Vizio. I assume this is a low power standby mode that either the Vizio didn’t have or I never enabled. Lastly, she’s quite impressed with the TCL Roku’s exterior styling. So I am. It’s quite sleek, especially compared to her older set, and the glass base is both elegant and stable.
As to the industry itself, it’s amazing how far we’ve come. Mom went from a single $600 32″ HDTV in 2007 to two 40″ HDTV, with builtin streaming services, for that same $600 in 2014.