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Binge Watcher

Roku, hold TCL accountable

I have had such a terrible day all thanks to TCL. In the middle of a game this morning my TV screen went dark. I purchased my TCL 55S405 in November of 2018 and should have gotten the extended warranty. I’ve been looking online for the past 7 hours and have read so many horror stories about the ineffective products from TCL. Without having the necessary tools to even check to see what is wrong with the tv, I THINK it is an issue with the backlight LEDs. I watched a video of someone replacing it and they explained that the manufacturing of the tv is most likely to blame. If even one LED is off the entire system won’t work. Some people have fixed it by draining the tv of power by unplugging it for 5-10 minutes. This actually helped with my situation a bit because the longer my tv is unplugged the longer the backlight will stay on. I had it unplugged for about 2 hours and checked and the light stayed on for about 2 seconds, longer than any other time today.

I looked around and one place said it would cost me more to repair this tv than buy a new one. The lowest price I was able to find was at half of the price I purchased it at (minus tax). Repairing it myself and buying the necessary tools might be the cheapest option and as long as I do it right, I should be fine until the next LED dies.


TL;DR: Roku needs to end their partnership with this cheap brand because I am completely turned off by Roku as a company as a result. Don’t tarnish your name with TCL. If you have a TCL and you’ve had it for over a year without problems, the worst is definitely ahead for you.

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Retired Moderator

Re: Roku, hold TCL accountable


Thanks for the post.

Have you tried contacting TCL support yet to inquire further? I'd suggest starting there to see what options or suggestions they can provide. Each Roku TV manufacturer provides direct support for their products running the Roku OS. 

You can reach them here: https://support.tclusa.com/televisions or at 1-877-300-8837.


Danny R.
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Binge Watcher

Re: Roku, hold TCL accountable

@RokuDanny-R Literally the first thing I did. I have to repair the tv myself, but so many people have issues with their TCL tvs that the solution would be Roku ending their partnership with TCL or demanding better manufacturing practices. Until then, this problem will continue.

Roku Guru

Re: Roku, hold TCL accountable

@SneakJesus wrote: so many people have issues with their TCL tvs that the solution would be Roku ending their partnership with TCL ....

The problem is that many of these problems happen after a Roku software update. In the blackscreen thread, someone replied to you that it was the update that caused theirs. The green-screen thread seems to be *entirely* due to the UNTESTED software update which people can't opt out of (can't go back to the prior version that worked for them). Same thing with the perma-recovery loop, and mac addr zeros (there's probably more. I think the lip synch thread(s) implicated 9.4 too).

TCL was Roku's first partnership. Look how bad this is, and has been for YEARS. 

I totally understand your being mystified. If a company cared about its customers, its reputation, etc., it would see that SOMETHING is broken in this relationship, and get to the bottom of it. That's what someone operating in good faith would do. But, it's been YEARS of this status quo. TCL tells people to talk to Roku. Roku says it's the tv makers' responsibility to support the tv Roku runs on. (What goes unmentioned is who's supposed to test updates to ensure they're compatible with existing tv hardware? Is there any agreement in this matter? Is there even a hardware spec & test suite TCL is expected to design to? Is Roku deviating from that spec? Did anyone even think about this topic when marrying Roku to TVs? Or, did it spin out of control?).

Roku is entirely silent on these matters. You have to ask why. If they're innocent, and being tarnished by a bad partner (for YEARS), wouldn't they have bug tracking, and help identify the source of the problem? Instead, we see Roku mock its customers (Business Insider), and act like nothing (at all!) is wrong. Just the same canned reply: talk to the tv maker.

In your case it makes sense. You believe your black screen is just ordinary hardware failure. Then you see all the people with TCL tv problems (many of which were induced by Roku's untested software updates) and think this points to a problem with TCL who needs to be held accountable.

That's reasonable. I'm just saying, Roku looks just as crooked. Even more so. They're just playing along with it, not helping customers understand the source of the problem. Which begs the question: what does Roku get out of that? What are they hiding? Is it easier to not test software updates? They don't want clarity on any of this. It's in their favor to leave it all nebulous? Collusion tactics?

TCL could definitely be a bad actor. But, it takes two tango. Roku has had YEARS to see what's wrong, and *still* acts like nothing is wrong. Not merely that TCL's hardware isn't durable. But, that it's prone to being broken by Roku's updates. In the former case, you could say "not my problem." But, when it's a landmine for your updates, and you act like it's not even happening, it starts to smell fishy. Like, you've got a couple of companies playing fast & loose because it benefits *them* (with no concern for the customer).

So, you're call for Roku to hold TCL accountable definitely is reasonable. I just think there's enough history here that it overlooks the larger problem (Roku itself). There's some kind of corruption with both companies. Collusion tactics, where they both benefit from leaving all this nebulous and ill-defined, pointing the finger at each other. (An innocent party wouldn't do that for this long.).

What I think is interesting is TCL is now making Android TVs. That's going to be interesting to see if they have all the same flaky problems Roku TVs have. And, update-induced breakages. From what I can tell, TCL's Android tvs let you opt out of updates, and go back to a prior version. TCL is solely responsible for testing updates and pushing them out (not this shared/mixed (ir)responsibility of TCL/Roku).

It's just going to be interesting to see how that goes compared to this "nobody's responsible" arrangement Roku has. The common theme with Roku & TCL (or any tv maker) is "the customer comes last." Something about how hardware, software, updating, testing, pushing lends it self to this nebulous arrangement where nobody knows what went wrong. (It's the lack of concern for YEARS which suggests collusion tactics are a significant part of this arragement. They all benefit.). Android has decades(?) of experience structuring software/hardware responsibilities with the customer experience in mind. So, I have a hard time believing TCL Android will be as bizarre as TCL Roku. (The fact that people can halt updates, and choose when they want to update, and go back to a previous update itself would be a breath of fresh air. That's the sort of thing you expect. But, with Roku, you can't even get to the bottom of who's not testing the software you can't opt out of. Roku has never cared about this matter. So, why would they care about TCL's ordinary hardware failures?).

"People are often amazed at how much we’ve done with the number of engineers we’ve got." (Roku CEO Anthony Wood, Austin Statesman, Oct 4, 2019). "Amazed" is one way of putting it.

Re: Roku, hold TCL accountable

Best thing I've read in months! Thank you for saying what's needed said by "us," the consumer.

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