RCA RTRU5027 offers 4K and the er handy Roku Smart TV platform at such a low price that if you can ignore its weak HDR performance and sketchy sound processing then it is a TV that stands out in the budget classification.
Price hits bottom
No volume level
Limited viewing angle
When it comes to cheap TVs, few are cheaper than this $269 50-inch RCA model, which offers built-in 4K, HDR, and Roku TV support.
It is one of the cheapest 4K TVs we have ever seen, costing less than models like the $599 Hisense 55H9F and even the 43-inch Vizio M-Series Quantum at $349.
This 50-inch 4K RCA TV doesn’t do much to develop display technology, but it brings premium features down to mass-market prices, and its shortcomings are easy to ignore (and sometimes fixable) at this price.
Price and release date
RCA RTRU5027 has been available since 2017 for $699, but these days you can find it at Walmart for as little as $269 – making it one of the cheaper 4K HDR TVs sold at the retailer.
With a plastic back and minimal weight, this RCA TV feels as cheap as its price suggests. It weighs just 25.4 pounds (11.5Kg), making it easier than ever to set up. All that weight is on a pair of legs that do not take up too much surface area on the center of the vehicle.
Once established, the cheap price of the design will be more easily ignored. The borders on it are surprisingly thin, with only about half an inch on all sides except the bottom, where it is only slightly thicker. Most TVs are only about an inch thick, but the bottom half is about 2.5 inches thick.
TL design; DR: It may not be the thinnest, but no one will look at the 50-inch RCA 4K Roku TV from the front and think you have an antique TV – except for the protruding IR receiver at the bottom.
Smart TV (Roku TV)
When it comes to the smart TV platform, Roku’s is one of the best. It has access to almost any streaming service you want, including the ability to stream content to your TV. The operating system is surprisingly fast considering RCA may not create a high-end processor to run it. That said, it sometimes has trouble trying to take a look at the content in the application, especially when it is 4K content.
Adding different applications is easy and the platform is completely simple. That even turned to the display settings, which felt more like a seamless part of the Roku TV operating system than a maze of menus and submenu buried in the user interface from the late 90s.
The included Roku remote control is usable but uses IR. Therefore, there is no headphone jack or voice control on the remote control, but the Roku application on mobile phones can handle those features.
Smart TV TL; DR: it is an impressive smart operating system to get a TV at this price considering that a standalone Roku device capable of 4K HDR would cost $39 without any screen.
There is not so much to be excited about from the performance of RCA RTRU5027. This is a basic TFT LCD monitor that provides a maximum brightness of 250 nits. Most of the top smartphone screens offer significantly brighter screens, and any TV with HDR actually has to reach 400 nits. (In fact, the UHD Alliance sets its proposed specifications at 1,000 nits …) Of course, this is a cheap screen and it offers only about one nit per dollar in its price tag.
In a sunny room, the screen cannot be kept in dark scenes even when covered with anti-glare to help cover somewhat reflexes. However, the average bright scenes handle well enough. In dark rooms, the screen is much easier to see, so it would be wise if you invest some of the savings on this TV in a suitable set of window blinds.
That said, RCA RTRU5027 gives a good image when lighting conditions are right: In a room with over-the-top lighting, the screen actually brings together some impressive levels of black, enough to enjoy The Dark Knight on. However, there is a certain sweet spot for black levels. In dark rooms, the backlight is clear. And, deep black levels will quickly disappear when viewed from an angle.
For HD images, RCA RTRU5027 shows it sharply. There don’t seem to be any fancy upgrades going on. Watching Witcher on Netflix in HD, the details remain clear, from wood grain to skin. However, we expect almost as much from a 1080p screen at this size from 10 feet away, but getting close enough is clear enough that no miracles happen to increase the sensory resolution. However, the image is sharp enough to spoil some CGI effects in Inception.
The dynamic range is fair. In The Witcher, scenes with high contrast to bright white skies and Nilfgaards in black armor saw some of the darkest and brightest details disturbed, but otherwise, the image looked as good as we could have expected from HD and SDR. (Note: Yes, we know The Witcher is available in 4K HDR format, but that’s not how we watched it.)
HD/SDR TL; DR: The image looks good but does not have the ability to upgrade miracles. Lighting conditions and viewing angles can significantly affect the experience.
Viendo contenido 4K, no hay duda de que la pantalla es nítida. Eso es especialmente evidente en los pelos finos, al igual que vemos mucho en la caricatura Cosmo’s Laundromat Blender. Realmente le da una textura similar a la vida a las ovejas. Aunque debemos acercarnos a la pantalla para ver todos los detalles 4K adicionales que ofrece. The Hunters en Prime Video también tiene muchos detalles en 4K, al igual que The Boys.
Sin embargo, cuando 4K logra proporcionar todos esos detalles adicionales, el modo HDR no hace un buen trabajo al proporcionar colores e detalles de iluminación adicionales. Se puede observar que no intenta producir algunos colores demasiado saturados y potentes, pero el resultado de HDR es que el color es casi silenciado en comparación con el SDR. Revisamos la escena de apertura de la barbacoa del cazador en SDR y los colores más saturados en 4K HDR en RCA RTRU5027.
Eso no necesariamente lo hace malo. La lavandería de Cosmo en 4K HDR sigue siendo una experiencia divertida y colorida. Los brillantes ojos rojos de Homelander durante la incursión en su casa de drogas en la parte inicial del final de la temporada 1 se veían lo suficientemente espectaculares, con láseres brillantes de ojos rojos iluminando la escena solo para que regresara rápidamente al negro. No es fácil sacar detalles de la zona oscura de la escena, pero hay algunos detalles.
La perspectiva sigue siendo un problema para el IDH. Es difícil ver escenas más oscuras desde un ángulo bajo, incluso un poco por debajo del centro de la pantalla. Vimos un buen video de prueba para HDR, “Emula mi licuadora en HDR”. En particular, el fondo negro se ve muy bien cuando se ve desde una posición dulce. Sin embargo, los aspectos más destacados de la escena muestran que el brillo máximo de 250 liendres no tiene suficiente espacio para un HDR atractivo.
Beyond the RCA RTRU5027’s lack of performance in HDR, it also has a strange side effect: HDR mode adds a warmer tint to white, giving it an orange hue, that’s most noticeable when the display is just showing white text on a black background. We don’t see this in SDR content, as with the HBO Now logo at the start of any HBO content.
For gamers, RCA reports an 8ms response time for the RTRU5027 but doesn’t support adaptive sync technologies like Nvidia G-Sync or AMD Free Sync.
4K/HDR TL;DR: The resolution is plenty sharp for a TV this size, but the display can’t get bright enough to offer a compelling HDR experience.
The audio on the RCA RTRU5027 is a mixed bag: The speakers work rather well, with plenty of sound for even a sizable living room, but it’s how the TV uses its speakers that causes the trouble.
From HBO to Netflix, the sound is all over the place. Sometimes it’s perfectly loud at a low volume setting, other times it’s hard to hear at with the volume dialed up. Then sound effects like gunshots, tires squealing, or knives stabbing will sound thin in the audio mix. That happens whether the sound mode is set to normal or to leveling.
An audio level that was working perfectly well on Amazon all day would suddenly be hushed on HBO Now with Dolby Audio. The closest analog to what is sounded like is a switch from front-facing speakers to bottom-firing speakers on a laptop. It is not subtle, and it is not beneficial.
Sound TL;DR: There’s plenty of power in the speakers, but the sound processing is hit or miss. It may be worth taking advantage of the audio ports to pair with a soundbar.
As it stands, the RCA RTRU5027 is one of the most affordable ways to jump into the 4K ballpark. Its performance feels more than adequate at the price, and the Roku TV platform is a strong point.
But, that said, HDR performance leaves it lagging behind the field, especially when another $100 can get you the Vizio M-Series M437-G0, which offers a higher 400-nit brightness, 12 local dimming zones on a quantum-dot display with support for Dolby Vision, and built-in voice control.