Televisions are not something we generally buy every day, or even every year, like phones. Many of us can go on a decade or more without upgrading the TV. If that sounds like you, I confess, it’s also me, your friendly YouTube tech blogger. It’s been about 12 years since I bought a television set, and a lot has changed.
Primarily televisions have become much more versatile, much higher quality, and with much improved resolution. 4KTV is the chief advancement in TV technology and it’s already a few years old. I recently had a chance to install a brand-new 4K Hisense Roku TV in my living room. I’ll tell you all about the 2019 Hisense Roku 4K television, Model: 43-R6-109, which I’ll just call the R6 from here on in. I’ll talk about the set up process, the special features, what the video quality looks like, and whether it’s been a worthy upgrade for me.
Hisense Roku 4K R6 TV review
Sure, most television sets are pretty much plug and play, right? But these days, thanks to the advent of smart TVs which have streaming capabilities built-in as well as voice control, there are a few extra steps when it comes to getting things online.
See my hands-on video review
I opted to place my new Hisense Roku R6 4KTV in an existing set up in my living room. My husband manufactured a sliding painting which hides the television set and sound bar behind it. For this reason, I chose a smaller 43 inch size TV to fit in our existing set up. But I highly recommend you fill the space with your new 4K TV if you can.
The Hisense Roku 4K TV comes with a remote control, which will be familiar to any of you with a Roku Streaming stick or similar. While some models do come with a voice control remote, this one did not. But that’s okay, because I can add voice control with the Roku remote app. More on that in a sec.
First order of business is connecting the TV to Wi-Fi to access streaming services. To do it, you’ll mainly follow the instructions on screen, which involves signing into your Wi-Fi network. You’ll also want to sign up for, or sign into, your Roku account.
2019 Hisense Roku R6 4K TV specs:
For you specs junkies, here’s what you’re getting into:
The Hisense Roku R6 features a 4K Ultra High Definition picture, with High Dynamic Range that boosts colour and contrast and improves the display of light. There’s a full array LED backlight, the internal speaker has DTS Studio Sound for a immersive audio experience.
As always, I’m going to say you need a sound bar with this, but you’ll be able to hear okay with the built-in option. The Hisense Roku 4K TV also has a native refresh rate of 60hz with a motion rate of 120. That means you’ll see less motion blur in fast or action scenes and sports, and gamers should find lag times drop. But it’s worth reading more on refresh rates in 4K TVs here: https://www.cnet.com/news/ultra-hd-4k-tv-refresh-rates/
Roku smart TV interface: user experience
Once connected, the Hisense Roku 4K TV gives you access to streaming services like YouTube, Netflix, Google Play Movies & TV, and CBS All Access, and lots more.
You can also connect other streaming devices, like an Apple TV to boost your content even further. While some new TVs are coming out with Apple TV built in, this one doesn’t yet have it, so just as well I have a device that will connect via the HDMI inputs (of which there are three, by the way).
As an aside, YouTube wasn’t set as one of the default streaming channels available, so to get it, go to>Home>Streaming Channels>Top Free and select YouTube. Hit OK to add it to your home screen.
How to re-name HDMI inputs on HiSense Roku 4K TV
While I’m on the subject of connecting the Apple TV, it’s worth pointing out you can rename your inputs. I labelled this one accordingly, so there’s no confusion about which HDMI inputs are connected to which devices. To do it, go to Home>Settings>TV Inputs>and then choose the input to rename. Highlight it, then click rename. Here you can choose from a list of names, or make a custom label and icon.
Using the Roku Remote app on Hisense R6 4K UHD Smart Roku TV
The Roku mobile app is an alternative remote for your Roku TV. You can use all the same remote controls as you’d typically find on a handheld remote, like switching the channel, play/pause, or to navigate around the screen. You can also access a keyboard for when it comes time to type in your passwords and lengthy email addresses.
Search & Voice search on Roku Remote app
While it appears voice search is an option, thanks to the appearance of a microphone icon on the remote app, it seems voice search doesn’t actually work. I tried numerous searches, and while it appeared the remote was hearing me, I got no results during any of my searches. I read something in the manual about the voice search being enabled only for the USA for now, so that might be the issue. I hope to see this appear in future firmware updates.
Even using the regular text search button seemed fruitless. I searched for my channel, “Erin Lawrence TV on YouTube” and got nothing. I tried searching Big Little Lies and nothing. I got strategic and searched Orange is the New Black, a show I know is on Netflix, and got a hit. Bottom line, the search feature won’t find a lot of things; it won’t scrape YouTube for example, you need to go into the YouTube channel and search. But it will search Netflix for you. So not the greatest search function ever.
Private Listening on the Roku mobile app
Now this is a feature you’re going to love. Only on compatible Apple and Android devices, the Roku mobile app enables you to use headphones connected to your phone or tablet, to listen to streaming programs. This feature means you can listen to the TV without disturbing others in the room, or avoid waking the kids if you’re watching late night movies.
Make sure you have the latest version of the Roku mobile app before using this feature.
To use it, first connect your headphones to your mobile device; in my case I connected my Apple AirPods 2 to my iPhone XS Max. Then, go to the Roku Remote app and choose the ‘Remote’ option from the menu. You’ll see a button with headphones on it. Tap the button and you should see the icon change, and you’ll be connected. To disable this feature, tap the headphone button again.
This feature works really well and provides a reliable way to listen to the TV with headphones, which also makes it good for seniors or those with hearing troubles.
Hisense R6 4K UHD Smart Roku TV: 4K video quality
Now let’s talk abut the reason you’re all here: video quality.
One of the first things you’ll need to do to begin enjoying 4K content is to enable the higher resolution stream on Netflix. Netflix has a tonne of 4K TV shows and movies, but you can’t get it without paying for more bandwidth. It costs about $3/month more.
The video quality on this TV is really good. It’s hard to find any fault with any 4K TV right now, particularly when coming up from an old HD TV; everything looks new and amazingly clear, crisp and detailed.
After a couple weeks of use I can say the video picture is top quality; I haven’t noticed any problems with it and I find it to be sharp and detailed, text looks crisp and the colours seem phenomenal. It even handles glare pretty well. The R6 is in a bright room and most of the time, though the room was bright, the glare didn’t affect the picture. Overall I’m quite happy with it so far.
Re-organizing your interface or Home screen
If you don’t like the looks of your home screen, you can reorganize it. Highlight the box or channel or app you want to move and press the star key.
You can customize your Hisense Roku TV quite a bit. You can change the overall theme and colours to something different if you want. I ended up being drawn to the beach background and that makes the TV a bit prettier to look at. To change your theme, go to Settings>Theme> Browse Theme and then surf around for what you like.
You can also add a screensaver. I will say, don’t try this with young kids in the room! There’s a lot of, ahem, scantily clad ladies and suggestive content in here. It’s actually a bit surprising that this is the bulk of the screensavers available, but I guess Roku knows their audience?
Anyway, I chose a nice 4K photo screensaver, but you can also choose 4K videos to just leave on the TV from within the Screensavers menu. They’ll play with music and motion video, and it’s a nice soothing background option. Especially when some other TV manufacturers have Ambient Mode. This is a similar idea.
Screen Mirroring on Hisense Roku 4K TV
It’s possible to mirror your phone or tablet’s screen on your new 2019 4K Hisense Roku R6 TV. To do it you need to begin in the Roku Remote app.
From the bottom menu, choose Photos+ then choose Videos. The app will load all the videos from your phone. Choose the video you want to play and tap Play. The video will begin streaming on your TV. This worked like a charm on both my Apple iPhone and the Google Pixel 3.
Adding Google Home & Amazon Alexa to Hisense Roku 4K TV
It’s supposed to be possible to add Google Home and Google Assistant — and Amazon Alexa functionality to your TV. If you’ve read about it, it’s important to note it seems the digital assistant features aren’t enabled in Canada yet.
Let’s start with Google. I was able to go into my Google Home and add the TV to the Google Home app. But I couldn’t control anything.
This is probably not surprising some most of this stuff comes to Canadian customers late. For now, any commands I issued were just met with, “sorry I can’t help with that” or similar from Google.
I also tried to set up the Hisense R6 with Alexa, but the Alexa app wouldn’t find the TV at all. Digging around on line I see this feature is only enabled in the USA. So for now, though I anticipate voice control will be coming to the R6 in Canada soon, it’s not enabled yet. When these features do get added, I’ll look to do a separate how-to video.
Upscaling on 2019 Hisense Roku R6 4K TV
The 2019 Hisense Roku R6 TV has upscaling technology built in. This essentially means the TV will increase the look and quality of non-4K content to 4K-like video. Thankfully, the upscaling on the TV is automatic; there is nothing to adjust and nothing for you to do; if the R6 can improve the video quality it does. You win.
After watching a bunch of HD video on the 4K Hisense Roku TV I can definitely say it looked to my eye like it was in 4K. The upscaling seems to do a great job at making lower resolution video look better.
How does the upscaling work? In a nutshell, the Hisense chipset inside the TV does a calculation to adjust the pixels to improve picture quality; when compared to older content or re-watching an old DVD, the TV has better brightness and contrast as well, which helps with the pixel adjustment and the display on the screen.
Overall review of 2019 Hisense Roku R6 TV
Overall, I’m pretty happy with this TV. It’s a huge improvement on my old TV.
I like the slim design, tiny bezels, easy to use Roku interface and the overall video quality is great. Plus, the ability to customize the screen and interface is nice. Any cons? Not being able to get Google to work is a bit disappointing, but I’m sure that will change, and I can update the channel with a review and how-to about that function down the road. For now, if you’re looking for a good quality, affordable 4K TV, I can recommend the Hisense R6 4K UHD Smart Roku TV. It sells for about $369.99 at Costco Canada.
Hisense Roku R6 4K
I like the slim design, tiny bezels, easy to use Roku interface and the overall video quality is great. Plus, the ability to customize the screen and interface is nice. Any cons? Not being able to get Google to work is a bit disappointing, but I’m sure that will change, and I can update the channel with a review and how-to about that function down the road. For now, if you’re looking for a good quality, affordable 4K TV
Immersive audio with 4K resolution
Plug-n-play setup and voice control
Connect to streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, etc. and even streaming devices including Apple TV
Upscaling feature improves video quality for low resolution videos
Mobile app to control TV
Voice control does not work well
Not being able to get Google to work