finding an easy-to-use, modest-budget tv for seniors
May 13, 2024 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Older relatives in the USA need a new TV ASAP. Probably looking for something in the 42" to 50" range based on viewing distance. I offered to do some research for them, but I haven't purchased a TV since 2008, apparently they're all terrible now? I'd be grateful for any advice on what I should be looking for or specific recommendations.

Things that matter:
Reasonably simple to set up and use (entering a few credentials is fine).
Easy to switch input between Roku and cable (no box, just coax input).
Doesn't take forever to turn on.
Doesn't take forever to change channels.
Good viewable angle/anti-glare.
Decent contrast and brightness.
Good clear audio quality (also open to advice on easy-to-configure budget soundbars).

Things that don't matter:
Audio/videophile stuff (OLED/4K/120 Hz/surround sound)

Things that would be great:
Minimum confusing menus/bloat/ads.
posted by nanny's striped stocking to Technology (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Check out the Roku TVs. Since the Roku "box" is built in, there's one less thing to deal with. The main screen lets you switch between inputs easily.

The remote control allows for voice control, which may help avoid some menus.
posted by jonathanhughes at 8:24 AM on May 13 [8 favorites]

My experience of high and low end TCL tvs (roku tv) has been very positive and they are quite affordable.
posted by atomicstone at 8:29 AM on May 13 [8 favorites]

I just did this with my elderly parents with essentially your list of requirements (albeit they were looking for a 65-inch) and forced a TCL with Roku on them. They were initially nervous because they weren't familiar with the brand name, but it has worked perfectly for their needs and they're very happy with it. It is beyond difficult to wring a "You were right" out of my parents, but this earned one.
posted by superfluousm at 8:48 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]

TVs have gotten a LOT better, IMO. A Roku TCL is what I got for my mom and she hasn't needed help with it ever.
posted by mullacc at 8:56 AM on May 13 [4 favorites]

There's a couple different manufacturers making Roku TVs now, and I think I've tried all of them at this point and they're fine - we're currently staying in a place with a Hisense. We owned four TCLs at one point. They all have the same OS/Interface and the same remotes. It DEFINITELY simplifies things to get a Roku TV because they generally only have 1 remote instead of 2.

If you want to pay a little more, get a 4K model, but most people are not going to notice the quality difference between 4K and 1080p.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:06 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]

I have had two TCL Roku TVs at this point and have added Roku Streaming Sticks to three others. Highly recommend the TCL Roku TVs as a way to go.
posted by limeonaire at 10:00 AM on May 13 [2 favorites]

HiSense Roku TV seems about the same as the TCL ones, but are often really affordable at WalMart. My mom worked at WalMart for ages, so if dad can get a deal there, there is no talking him into something else. He's been really happy with the HiSense Roku TV and really, I can't tell the difference between it and the TCL Roku TV.
posted by advicepig at 10:55 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]

I have bought three TCL Roku TVs from Amazon (I know...) and all of them have been great. They're super easy to set up, and they just work. I added a TCL sound bar and wireless subwoofer to the 55" in the living room; it detected everything and basically set itself up. The TVs are very well packed, and I had no issues with even a hint of damage on any of them (ranging from 30" to 55").

I will say that, occasionally, the TV does feel a little sluggish when switching between apps, but it's never "Uuuugghhh" just, "C'mon, you can do it... there." The picture quality and viewing angle on the TCLs aren't quite as great as say a high-end Sony, but I paid less than $300 for the 55" TCL/Roku and especially for that price, yeah no complaints.
posted by xedrik at 12:00 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]

Elderly folks often come to hate the remote control that comes with most TVs, thanks to WAY too many lbuttons, and all of them little. Consider supplying them with a universal remote with Big A** buttons for the volume and channel controls. But also make sure it has the directional buttons for Roku menu navigation.
posted by intermod at 2:59 PM on May 13

Nthing TCL Roku. I would make sure to do a setup pass and turn off all the usual invasive smart TV stuff. You can also delete all the unneeded "channels," promoted apps etc. Even the simplest "smart" TV is full of these things.

You can also have the TV default to a certain input rather than going to the "home" screen. That way it's just a dumb TV until they press the home button to go find Netflix or whatever.

TCL is about to put out a new pile of TVs so you might wait a week or two to buy an older model. My TV (a TCL Roku) is from 2020 I believe and is excellent for high-quality video, fast gaming etc. So no need to get anything NEW new, just make sure it isn't like, well loved.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:36 PM on May 13

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone who responded! I was definitely not expecting the answer to be so straightforward, a Roku TV sounds perfect for their use case.
posted by nanny's striped stocking at 9:40 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]

I like my Roku TV a lot but here is one issue which doesn't bug me but may bug others: the remote does not have numbers on it for switching channels. If you are watching the Live TV input that Roku provides, or antenna or cable input, you can't just key in the channel you want to watch. I have to use my cable box's remote for that. I understand there are a few "universal" remotes that have Roku keys added but I haven't experienced those.
posted by TimHare at 8:29 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]

« Older Are Dysons worth it vs. knockoffs?   |   Advice on migrating work email/calendar from... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments