TCL Versus Element TVs — Budget TV Knockdown

If you’re shopping for a new TV, both TCL and Element deserve a look. This post summarizes the features of both brands
to help you make an informed decision. TCL and Element both offer models with the latest tech and some of the lowest prices around.

TCL Technology

A multinational Chinese company, TCL Technology has sales revenue of nearly $75 billion.

The Company

Founded in 1981, TCL has become the fastest-growing TV brand in the U.S., making TCL the second-largest TV manufacturer in the world. The company has 35 research centers, and its manufacturing plant is vertically integrated, which means the company makes all the components for its TVs in-house at its $20 billion state-of-the-art manufacturing center and associated factories. Vertical integration gives TCL unparalleled control over the quality of their TVs and the ability to incorporate the latest technology into each model.

TV Lineup

TCL divides their TVs into several “Series,” shown here from the entry-level 3-Series to the top of the line 8-Series.

 

3-Series 4-Series 5-Series 6-Series 8-Series
Screen choices 32″ – 49″ 43″ – 75″ 50″ – 75″ 55″ – 75″ 65″ – 75″
Works With Roku TV & Android TV Roku TV & Android TV Roku TV Roku TV Roku TV
Resolution High Definition 1080p 4K Ultra HD 4K Ultra HD 4K Ultra HD 4K Ultra HD
HDR? No HDR HDR Dolby Vision HDR Dolby Vision HDR Dolby Vision HDR
Price range $129 – $389 $199.99 – $799.99 $399.99 – $1099.99 $649.99 – $1399.99 $1999.99 -$2999.99
You’ll notice that all TCL TVs have incorporated Roku, while the entry-level 3- and 4-Series also offer Android TV. Android TV lets you ask the Google Assistant to search for content, stream video, play multiplayer games, install new Android apps – and even dim the lights when you connect smart home devices. Android TV also has Chromecast built-in, so you can cast video from your phone or tablet directly to the TV.
Roku, on the other hand, gives you dozens of free Roku channels that don’t need passwords, logins, or subscriptions because those channels are supported by advertising. Roku also lets you add apps (Roku calls them “channels”) for YouTube, Starz, Netflix, Prime Video, and many others. For those still connected to traditional cable companies and who subscribe to AT&T TV, there’s an app for that on TCL Roku TVs, too.
Notice as well that all TVs except 3-Series offer 4K Ultra HD (3840 × 2160 pixels). Likewise, all but the 3-Series also have one form or another of high dynamic range (HDR) technology built-in. If you’re wondering just what HDR, Dolby Vision HDR, and competing technologies like HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG are about, check out this YouTube video explainer. Bottom line: HDR technologies give your TV the ability to display whiter whites and blacker blacks that give every scene a more vivid and realistic appearance.
For a further in-depth study of TCL TVs, visit TCL Technology.

Element Electronics

Element Electronics, based in South Carolina, is the only significant TV maker based in the U.S. It’s focused on making high-quality TVs with the latest technology for budget-conscious consumers in the United States.

The Company

Opening in 2014, Element is a family-owned business that struggled with market conditions and marketing misfires in recent years that caused it to lay off a sizable portion of its staff in 2018. Today, having recovered, the company buys its TVs from a Chinese company, TongFang Global, adds a circuit board or two, tests the TV, then repackages it before shipping to big box retailers. The company assembles TVs rather than manufacturing them. It’s an important distinction but doesn’t affect the quality or performance of their products. Even technology superstars use third-party manufacturers. Dell Computer, for instance, relies on Compal Electronics in Taiwan to build its computers, and that hasn’t hurt Dell or discouraged its customers. Plus, it’s great to have Element Electronics in South Carolina to call when you need service or repair.

TV Lineup

Element names its TVs much like TCL.

 

Series 100 Series 200 Series 300 Series 400 Series 450
Screen choices 19” – 65” 32” – 55” 24” – 40” 43” – 70” 43” – 75”
Works with N/A – This is not a Smart TV Smart TV, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa Roku TV, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa Roku TV, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa Roku TV, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa
Resolution 720p, 1080p, 4K UHD 720p, 1080p, 4K UHD 720p, 1080p 4K UHD 4K UHD
HDR? No HDR No HDR No HDR HDR10 HDR10
Element sells its TVs through Walmart, Target, Costco, Meijer, and PC Richard & Sons. Each of those retailers set their own prices.
Notice that the Series 100 TVs do not connect to the Internet. They’re not smart TVs, but with HDMI connectors, it’s easy to connect DVD players, old-school VHS, TIVO tuners, gaming systems, and other digital devices. The Series 200 TVs come with seven apps built-in that let you connect to Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Facebook, and other popular services.
Strangely, the Series 300 doesn’t offer 4K UHD along with its Roku ecosystem, although it does include a voice-activated remote control that lets you search for entertainment with the spoken word.
Series 400 and 450 represent the top of the line. Both give you crisp, brilliant 4K resolution and HDR10.
For a detailed review of Element TVs and the company itself, visit Element Electronics.

Don’t Settle for the Standard Warranty

When you’re buying a TV at the budget end of the price range, be aware that failures can occur, especially as the TV ages. Upsie‘s TV coverage starts on day one and overlaps with the manufacturer’s warranty. Upsie covers repairs or replacements the manufacturer denies that are within Upsie’s warranty terms.
As an additional benefit, Upsie covers shipping costs to and from the manufacturer should you choose to send your TV out for repair. But even better, you can have Upsie’s full coverage for 2-, 3-, or 5-years, which sends a certified technician to your home to make any repairs. There’s no charge for parts or labor, and that’s the advantage of insuring your TV with Upsie. Plus, you can buy this extended coverage any time within the first 11 months of buying your TV.
Visit Upsie’s TV Warranty page to learn more, then contact Upsie with any questions.

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