Are RCA TVs Good and Reliable? My Honest Review After Owning One

When I was shopping around for a new TV for my living room last year, I was drawn to RCA’s low prices. As a budget-conscious shopper, I wondered if I could get a decent TV without breaking the bank.

After doing more research, I decided to take a chance and purchased a 50″ RCA Roku TV. Now, after over a year of ownership, I want to provide an honest review of my experience with RCA’s TVs. Are they actually reliable and worth the low cost? Let’s dive in.

Overview of RCA TVs

RCA is one of the most affordable TV brands on the market today. Many of their TVs sell for under $500, which is quite cheap compared to other major manufacturers. RCA is able to keep costs down by importing their TVs and focusing on entry-level models rather than premium features.

Here’s a quick overview of RCA’s TV lineup:

  • Screen Sizes: Primarily 32″ to 65″, some larger 70″+ models
  • Display Types: LED-LCD (no OLED options)
  • Resolutions: Mainly 1080p, some 720p models
  • Smart TV Platform: Most have Roku TV built-in
  • Prices: Range from $100 to $800 typically

As you can see, RCA’s focus is affordability. But does this mean you have to sacrifice quality? I’ll share my experience to help answer this key question.

My Experience With an RCA Roku TV

RCA 50" Class 4K UHD LED TV review

Last year, I purchased a 50″ RCA Roku TV for our living room. Here are the key details about the model:

  • Model Number: 50R352E
  • Display Type: LED-LCD
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Smart TV: Yes, with Roku OS built-in
  • Inputs: 3 HDMI, 1 USB, Composite, etc
  • Price Paid: $298

This particular TV seemed to fit what I needed well – a basic 50″ smart TV for watching shows, movies, sports, etc. And at just under $300, the price was very appealing.

Initial Impressions

When I first unboxed the TV, I was pleasantly surprised by the design. The bezels around the screen were quite thin, giving it a very modern look. The plastic body didn’t feel super premium, but perfectly fine for the price.

picture quality of rca tv

The setup was very quick and easy. Following the instructions, I had the TV unpacked, mounted on the wall, and connected to WiFi in under 30 minutes. The Roku TV interface loaded up smoothly and looked great on the 50″ display.

Picture Quality

In my experience so far, the picture quality has been quite good for this price range. Watching HD cable channels and streaming 4K content from Netflix, the image appeared sharp and the colours looked accurate.

The TV has decent contrast for an LED-LCD display. Blacks look reasonably dark, though not as inky as an OLED TV. There is some light bleeding along the edges, but uniformity is satisfactory overall.

Upscaling from 720p and 1080p sources is handled well by the processor. Standard definition content is noticeably softer but still watchable. This is expected for a budget 4K TV.

While this RCA model does accept HDR signals, it lacks wide color gamut and local dimming. So HDR performance is limited compared to premium 4K TVs. But I don’t expect true HDR on a sub-$300 set anyway.

Audio Quality

The built-in speakers get reasonably loud for a living room TV, but lack bass and sound a bit tinny. This is typical of cheap TVs that don’t have much internal space for decent speakers.

I recommend pairing this RCA TV with a soundbar to significantly improve audio quality. The TV has an optical output, which allows sending uncompressed audio to a soundbar.

Smart TV Features

I’ve been very happy with the Roku TV platform on this RCA television. The interface is smooth and intuitive to use with a simple home screen. Apps launch quickly and I haven’t experienced any lag or freezing up.

Roku OS gives you access to thousands of streaming apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, and many more. It’s missing some apps like Apple TV, but has the most essential ones.

The remote is basic but gets the job done. Voice search works well for finding shows and movies. Overall, the smart features meet my needs on this budget TV.

Reliability Over 1 Year of Ownership

Reliability is a major concern when purchasing budget TVs from less-proven brands. Here is how this RCA model has held up after over 12 months of ownership:

  • Zero dead or stuck pixels on the screen so far
  • No issues with backlight uniformity appearing over time
  • System has not slowed down or frozen up
  • Physical condition looks brand new still after gentle use
  • No problems with HDMI ports or other connections

Overall, I’ve had zero reliability issues with this TV in the first year. It powers on instantly every time and continues to perform just like it did out of the box. Pretty impressive for an RCA television at this price point.

Customer Service Experience

I fortunately have not had to contact RCA customer service so far. If an issue does come up down the road, I’ll be sure to update this review.

But in general, I’ve read customer service may be hit or miss with budget brands like RCA. I always recommend buying an extended warranty for extra peace of mind.

Read Also:

Are RCA TVs Good For Gaming?

Pros and Cons of RCA Roku TV

Here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons I’ve experienced with my 50″ RCA television:


  • Very affordable price only $298
  • Large 50″ 4K screen with good image quality
  • Slim bezel-less design looks great
  • Easy to set up out of the box
  • Roku TV platform is fast and intuitive
  • Good reliability so far after 1 year


  • Audio quality from built-in speakers only fair
  • Lacks advanced features like local dimming
  • No cutting-edge display tech like OLED
  • Customer service concerns with budget brand
  • Unknown long-term reliability

As you can see, this RCA TV delivers solid performance and value at an ultra-low price point. But you do lose some of the bells and whistles of more expensive options.

Should You Buy an RCA Television?

RCA TVs can make sense for certain buyers who prioritize price over everything else. I would recommend considering an RCA in these situations:

  • If your budget is $500 or less
  • If you want a basic TV with a decent 4K picture
  • As a secondary TV for a bedroom, office, etc
  • If you plan to add a soundbar for better audio

However, more discerning buyers and home theatre enthusiasts will likely want to look at other brands. I wouldn’t recommend an RCA television if:

  • You want better build quality and premium feel
  • Top-notch picture quality is a priority
  • You care about latest display technologies
  • Audio quality from the built-in speakers is important
  • Customer service and reliability are big concerns

In summary, RCA TVs can be a great choice for budget-focused shoppers looking for an affordable 4K screen. But they do cut some corners to keep costs down. As long as you manage expectations, an RCA provides solid performance for the price.

Needed a new tv and our cable happens to run on ROKU . Making it a good choice and it’s an American πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ brand name . Went with the protection plan so hopefully πŸ™πŸ½ the picture remain clear , crisp putting you in the action, event , drama 🎭 . Thank you for reading God bless (John Mendoza)

Frequently Asked Questions

Are RCA TVs reliable?

RCA TVs have electronics and build quality comparable to other budget brands. They offer decent reliability for the low price, but longevity is harder to predict. Issues may arise sooner than more expensive models.

What is RCA’s reputation?

RCA was once a top TV brand but is now focused on affordability over prestige. They offer basic models with decent performance for very low prices. Expect Costco or Walmart-tier quality rather than premium.

Do RCA TVs last?

With proper care and maintenance, an RCA TV should last at least 3-5 years on average. Some budget models only 1-2 years. More expensive RCA TVs may last 5-7 years. Proper ventilation and surge protection help longevity.

Should I buy an extended warranty?

Extended warranties are always a good idea with budget TV brands. You can purchase 1-3 years of extra coverage from retailers for a reasonable price. This gives more peace of mind if any issues arise down the road.

Are RCA and Samsung TVs related brands?

No, RCA and Samsung are completely separate companies. RCA licenses its name to various manufacturers. Samsung TVs are higher-end models while RCA competes on price.

Is RCA better than Onn or Insignia?

RCA, Onn, and Insignia all make affordable TV models. Picture and build quality are comparable between these budget brands overall. Check specs and prices on individual models you’re considering.

What display technologies do RCA TVs use?

Most RCA TVs utilize LED-LCD display panels, the most common affordable technology. A few models may still use legacy CCFL-LCD panels. RCA does not currently offer TVs with OLED, QLED, or microLED displays.

Should I wall-mount an RCA TV?

You can safely wall mount an RCA television as long as you use a high-quality mount. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for supporting the TV’s weight. Wall mounting is a great way to save space.

Are RCA TVs Android or Roku?

Most recent RCA TVs run the Roku TV smart platform. Some older or cheaper models may use dated Android software. Roku offers a better user experience compared to cheap Android TVs overall.

How do I troubleshoot problems with my RCA TV?

First, check for a firmware update which may resolve buggy behavior. Also try unplugging the TV for 60 seconds to reset it. Check connections, ports, and settings to make sure all is configured properly. If issues persist, contact RCA support.

As you can see, RCA TVs come with pros and cons like any budget television brand. But they provide a solid 4K viewing experience for an incredibly low price. If you manage expectations and pair it with a soundbar, an RCA can be a great option on a tight budget. Just be aware of potential reliability concerns past the warranty period.

My Final Verdict After 1 Year of Ownership

After using this 50″ RCA Roku TV daily for over 12 months now, I remain very happy with the purchase. For my needs and budget, it has exceeded my expectations.

The picture quality provides a noticeable upgrade over 1080p for streaming 4K content and gaming. I have zero complaints about the easy-to-use Roku platform. And best of all, the TV has proven reliable with no issues up to this point.

Considering I spent barely over $300, I feel like I got an incredible bargain. This RCA TV will hopefully last me at least 2-3 years with moderate use. Just remember to keep your expectations realistic for the price and I think most buyers will be satisfied.

While more premium televisions do bring better performance and features, they also come with a massive price hike. For budget shoppers, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal than an RCA 4K TV under $500.

Just be sure to pair it with a soundbar and don’t expect it to compete with $1000+ sets. As long as you know what you’re getting, I definitely think RCA TVs are worth considering if you want to maximize value.

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