TCL S517 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV Review

TCL S517 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV Review

Dreaming of a cinematic experience without the cinematic price tag? The TCL S517 4K Roku Smart TV might be your ticket to binge-watching bliss. This budget-friendly TV boasts stunning 4K resolution, the user-friendly Roku smart platform, and a sleek design that won’t break the bank. But before you settle in for movie night, let’s take a deep dive into the S517’s picture quality, design, features, and potential shortcomings. This review will be your guide to decide if the TCL S517 is the key to unlocking your next entertainment haven.

Product Details

Display TechnologyLED
Refresh Rate120 Hz
Special FeatureFlat
Included ComponentsStand, Remote
Connectivity TechnologyWi-Fi, HDMI
Supported Internet ServicesNetflix, Pandora, Vudu, Amazon Instant Video
  • Budget Friendly
  • 4K Resolution
  • 120hz Refresh Rate
  • ROKU TV Integration
  • Sharp & Crisp Colors
  • Backlight Bleeding Issues

TCL 43S517 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV

TCL 55S517 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV

Picture Quality

The TCL S517’s core attraction lies in its 4K resolution. Here’s a breakdown of its key visual aspects:

  • 4K Resolution: Brace yourself for sharper details and crisper visuals compared to Full HD TVs. Text appears razor-sharp, and you might even discover subtle details you missed before in your favorite shows and movies.

  • HDR Compatibility: The S517 supports HDR10, a format that expands the contrast range for potentially more lifelike visuals with brighter highlights and deeper blacks. However, some reviewers note that the HDR implementation might not be the most impactful, especially in terms of peak brightness.

  • Upscaling Tech to the Rescue: Don’t have a 4K library yet? No worries! The S517 utilizes upscaling technology to enhance the quality of non-4K content. This means your favorite HD shows and movies can appear closer to 4K resolution, offering a more enjoyable viewing experience.

  • iPQ Engine™: TCL’s Secret Weapon: Working behind the scenes, TCL’s proprietary iPQ Engine™ helps process the picture for improved color accuracy, contrast, and clarity. This engine strives to deliver a more vibrant and detailed picture, enhancing your viewing experience.

Compared To Other TVs

The S517 sits squarely in the mid-range arena. While it delivers a decent 4K experience, some competitor TVs might offer features like higher peak brightness or more advanced HDR processing technologies that can deliver a more impactful HDR punch. Additionally, some higher-end TVs might boast improved motion handling for smoother visuals in fast-paced content.

Here’s the deal: If you prioritize exceptional picture quality with top-tier brightness, contrast, and HDR performance, the S517 might not be your champion. Exploring pricier options with more advanced picture processing technologies might be a better fit.

Brightness and Contrast

The brightness levels on the S517 are adequate but not outstanding. While suitable for most viewing environments, the screen might struggle in very bright rooms. The contrast ratio is also fair, but deeper blacks might be a concern for some viewers, especially when compared to TVs with features like local dimming that adjust backlighting dynamically for a more dramatic contrast.

Consider this: If a brilliantly lit picture with deep, inky blacks is your priority, the S517 might not be the brightest star. Exploring TVs with higher peak brightness or local dimming features could be a better option.


TCL S517 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV design

The TCL S517 embraces a minimalist design aesthetic. The bezels are slim and stylish, creating a near bezel-less look that keeps the focus on the picture. The sleek stand offers sturdy support and a slight tilt functionality for optimal viewing angles. The back panel is made of plastic, which feels functional but not necessarily premium. Overall, the design prioritizes clean lines and a modern look that blends seamlessly into most living spaces.

Here’s a point to consider: The TCL S517 might be a bit thicker than some ultra-slim TVs on the market. If wall mounting is your preference, be sure to check the depth specifications to ensure it fits your space requirements.

Sound Quality

Let’s be honest, the built-in speakers on the TCL S517 are just average. They lack depth and power, resulting in a somewhat thin and underwhelming audio experience. Dialogue can sound clear at moderate volumes, but bass is lacking, and action scenes might sound flat.

For an immersive movie or gaming experience, consider pairing the S517 with a soundbar or a home theater system. This will significantly enhance the overall audio quality and unlock the full potential of your entertainment. The good news is that TCL offers a variety of soundbar options that integrate seamlessly with the S517, creating a unified and powerful audio solution.

Smart Features

The TCL S517 boasts the user-friendly Roku smart platform, a major perk for cord-cutters and streaming enthusiasts:

  • Simple and Intuitive Interface: Roku is known for its user-friendly interface with a clean layout. Navigating through menus, finding your favorite apps, and streaming content is a breeze.

  • Vast App Selection: The S517 offers a wide selection of popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and countless others, along with games and additional apps.

  • Voice Control with Your Remote: No more hunting for the remote! The S517 remote features voice control buttons, allowing you to search for content, control playback, or launch apps using your voice.

  • Roku Mobile App: The Roku mobile app transforms your smartphone into a handy remote control. You can also use the app for private listening through headphones and some even offer additional features like screen mirroring.

Compared To Other TVs

Roku is a strong contender in the smart platform arena. However, some competitor TVs might offer additional functionalities or integrations specific to their own smart systems. For example, some TVs might have built-in support for Google Assistant or integrate more seamlessly with certain smart home ecosystems.

Here’s a point to consider: While Roku offers a great selection of apps, there might be a chance a specific niche app you use isn’t available on the platform. It’s always a good idea to check if your favorite apps are available before purchasing.


The TCL S517 features a standard 60Hz refresh rate panel. While it delivers a decent viewing experience for most content like movies and TV shows, fast-paced scenes like sports or action movies might exhibit some motion blur. This can be a concern for gamers or viewers particularly sensitive to motion blur. The S517 might lack some motion processing features found on higher-end TVs that can help reduce blur. While some technologies might be included to try and minimize blur, they might introduce the “soap opera effect” where motion appears unnaturally smooth, which some viewers find undesirable.

Here’s the takeaway: If you prioritize silky smooth motion handling in fast-paced content, the S517’s 60Hz refresh rate might not be ideal. Consider a TV with a higher refresh rate (120Hz or higher) for the smoothest possible motion.

Gaming Features

The TCL S517 caters to casual gamers with some basic features to enhance the experience. Game Mode pre-calibrates the picture settings for faster response times and a more responsive gaming experience. Additionally, ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) might be included on some models, helping reduce input lag for a faster response time between your controller actions and what appears on the screen. However, the S517 lacks some features that serious gamers might crave:

  • Higher Refresh Rates: As mentioned earlier, the 60Hz refresh rate might not be ideal for gamers seeking the smoothest possible motion.
  • VRR (Variable Refresh Rate): This technology eliminates screen tearing, a visual glitch that can occur during fast-paced gameplay. The S517 doesn’t support VRR.
  • Advanced Gaming Modes: Some TVs offer dedicated game modes optimized for different game genres (FPS, RPG, etc.) for the best possible gaming experience. The S517 lacks such dedicated modes.

The TCL S517 is suitable for casual gamers who don’t mind the limitations of a 60Hz refresh rate and lack of advanced gaming features. But for serious gamers seeking the best possible performance, a TV with a higher refresh rate, VRR support, and dedicated gaming modes might be a better fit.

Viewing Angles and Screen Uniformity

  • Viewing Angles: The TCL S517 utilizes an VA panel technology, which offers decent viewing angles compared to some TN panels. This means colors and picture quality remain fairly consistent when viewed from off-center positions. However, VA panels typically have a narrower viewing angle compared to IPS panels.

  • Screen Uniformity: The TCL S517 might exhibit some minor variations in brightness or color across the screen, especially in dark scenes. This is a common occurrence with most TVs, and its severity can vary between individual units. If uniformity is a major concern, researching user reviews and professional calibrations can help you determine if this is a widespread issue with the S517.


TCL S425 4K Ultra HD Smart ROKU LED TV inputs

The TCL S517 comes equipped with a good selection of inputs, allowing you to connect all your essential devices:

  • Multiple HDMI ports (with some featuring HDMI 2.0 capabilities): Connect streaming devices, game consoles, and cable boxes. HDMI 2.0 supports features like 4K resolution at 60Hz.
  • USB ports: Connect external storage drives or media players to enjoy your personal content on the big screen.
  • Optical audio output: Connect external sound systems for an immersive audio experience (soundbar recommended).
  • An RF connector: Connect cable or antenna for traditional TV channels.

This selection of inputs ensures you can connect all your devices and enjoy your favorite content without needing extra adapters.

Overall Value

Ali Nawaz

About Ali Nawaz

Hey There, my name is Ali Nawaz, and I am an electrical engineer by profession and a die-hard nerd by passion. On Display Pick, I am responsible for all the guides, and tutorials in which I show you the simple steps for fixing the TVs. When I am not watching TV, I am either on the race track or playing with my cat "Smokey".

View all posts by Ali Nawaz →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *