Originally Posted by wizwor
If you have no significant experience with the TCL sets and other Roku products, then you probably do not understand how different the two are. If you have those experiences, you are entitled to your opinion. I disagree.
The Roku company operates on a shoe string. Each new product becomes the only product. Rather than let the old stuff die off or let people choose to not accept updates, Roku's programmers shoehorn the new products updates onto the old hardware and force installation of the updates. Each major software or hardware update is followed by a year of instability for the rest of the fleet. I was banned for documenting this cycle and politely insisting Roku stop breaking legacy hardware. I have had a couple TCL sets through a software update and did not experience this. Could be luck, I suppose. I suspect TCL maintains the code for their sets. Beyond that, the significant difference is the integration of OTA -- including Trick Play, as I mentioned before. The TVs have high WAF.
It is a FAR different experience than using a Roku plugged into the television. All that is the same is the apps.
Well, I don't really have any experience as a consumer, only as a developer working on streaming applications for a while now. I've already said I wouldn't have a "TCL" Roku TV in my home (which I don't), and furthermore, I've always felt I could crap a better streamer than any of the commercially available ones (but I have all kinds of the things in my home for work purposes, but I don't use them for my personal streaming).
Speaking from that perspective, and living about 2.5 miles from the Roku buildings in the Netflix campus, and having spent a LOT of time in those buildings, I can understand now where you're coming from, but you are factually incorrect on a few issues.
First, the "Roku company" does not operate on a "shoestring". They have HUNDREDS of engineers scattered all over the USA and the world, with a real large "nut" to overcome to be profitable. They like to use the excuse that they are all small and scrappy compared to competitors like AppleTV and AndroidTV, but as an engineering organization they have their good points but largely squander a lot of their resources like any other big questionably-managed company (including Apple and Google, et. al.) And the "Roku company" was largely responsible for all the software running on the "TCL" TVs, and Roku performs the updates to the TVs and all Roku devices in the field (not the case for other companies running the Roku OS which haven't updated the firmware for years).
If you have noticed a difference between a few updates on the TCL TVs and older Roku devices, it's just a combination of the luck of the draw and the amount of internal testing they have performed on any particular branch of the codebase. I know that about a year and half ago, they caused thousands of TCL TVs to be returned at Christmas because of Roku bugs that caused the TV to be locked up immediately on first power-up, and dozens of apps on all devices would only play the first half-hour of a video before stopping for no apparent reason (other than Roku idiocy).
So yes, Roku has a checkered history of properly updating (or even trying to update) the firmware to run on existing hardware, but you can never exactly tell which devices will get short shrift except probably the older ones that make Roku no additional revenue.