A cheap $300 TCL TV is one of the best tech purchases I’ve made in recent years. I had just moved to Brooklyn as a cash-strapped 20-something out of college and needed a TV that just got the job done. The TCL with Roku built in was the ideal solution, and since then, I’ve been recommending it to folks on a similar budget.
Now though, anyone in the market for a TCL, specifically those running Google TV, should think twice. Best Buy has removed 5-series and 6-series TCL TVs from its store after widespread complaints of buggy Google TV software.
It’s a rocky start for TCL—the company only began selling Google-powered TVs earlier this year after earning a name with its Roku-powered models. We’ve long considered TCL’s 5- and 6-series TVs to be the best affordable 4K models around, and the addition of Google TV sounded like the cherry on top, but clearly, this cake needs more time to bake.
Chris Welch at The Verge, who reported on the removal of TCL Google TV listings, says he has noticed some “general slowness” and that his roommate ran into crashes and freezes. Digital Trends Senior Editor Caleb Denison had a similar experience, calling the 5-series Google TV “glitchy” and “annoying.” Disgruntled customers echoed those experiences on social media and, as The Verge points out, the 65-inch 6-series model had a lowly 3.5-star rating on Best Buy before it vanished.
TCL confirmed to Gizmodo that the TVs are currently unavailable for purchase because of “challenges with the stability of the user interface.” The company says software updates have helped performance but further “marked improvements” will arrive soon. TCL expects its Google-powered TVs to go back on virtual shelves in the coming weeks.
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TCL still lists the 5 and 6-series Google TVs on its website, which even contains a link to their now-empty Best Buy product pages. Click on said link and you get a, “We’re sorry, something went wrong” message (sorry for the flashbacks, PS5 shoppers).
So as things stand, one of TCL’s most popular models is not available at the exclusive U.S. retailer of TCL’s Google TVs, and um, that’s a big problem.
Update 10 p.m. ET: We’ve updated this article with additional information from TCL.