When it comes to buying a TV, you might be tempted to say bigger is always better. While that might be true to an extent, it’s not true across the board - especially when you’re talking about buying a budget TV.
That’s because different manufacturers make vastly different TVs. A 65-inch LG OLED might always beat out a 40-inch Element, but not vice versa. To that end, you have be careful what you buy and who you buy it from.
So, should you buy a Toshiba Fire TV? It’s important to preface this conversation about manufacturers because Toshiba, remember, stopped selling its own TVs in the US in 2015 and the name is now owned by Hisense. (Should you buy a Hisense TV? See our in-depth guide.)
The good news is that Hisense is actually a decent TV manufacturer – or, at least, it’s not as bad as you were once led to believe and has made a few really good sets over the years. The Toshiba Fire TV, the latest in Amazon’s collaboration with TV manufacturers to embed its Fire TV platform into third-party TV sets, is one such screen.
Should I buy a Toshiba Fire TV?
Overall, not only is the Toshiba Fire TV cheap at around $479 for the 55-inch version, but it's been reviewed quite favorably with most reviewers - many of whom like the Fire TV OS and relatively detailed images the TV can produce.
However, if it's the Fire TV OS you're after, the cheapest way into the ecosystem is just the Amazon Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Stick 4K: plug into an HDMI port on a dumb (or smart) television and you're ready to go.
The Toshiba Fire TV's strong suits are that it’s a 4K HDR screen with decent viewing angles of up to around 30 degrees off-axis and its Fire TV OS integration means you’ll see Amazon Prime Video content front and center, but you’ll also be able to access Netflix, YouTube, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, Spotify, Twitch and many more services besides what Amazon has on offer.
It has a surprising amount of ports for a budget set - three HDMI inputs, a USB port and an optical audio output, as well as an Ethernet port, antenna/cable connector and an RCA composite video input. This should be enough places to plug in for all but the most avid of AV enthusiasts and a decently built remote helps keep control of the action. The remote has a mic built-in which allows you to search for shows and movies, as well as access Alexa, the Fire TV’s built-in assistant.
Alexa support is, in itself, a major highlight as it will allow your TV to act like a conduit to the rest of your smart home. You can control your lights, locks and other smart devices using the remote on your TV, plus you can use Alexa to manage day-to-day tasks like managing your shopping list or editing your calendar. It’s all pretty nifty.
Overall, while it’s certainly a good budget TV - maybe even one of the best at its sub-$500 price point - it’s not exactly the best budget TV this year: For around $150 more, you can get the TCL 6-Series Roku TV, which not only offers a slightly more robust operating system, but supports Dolby Vision in addition to the standard HDR10 format and gets a lot brighter.
You won’t be disappointed with the Toshiba’s performance - especially if you plan on sticking to HD SDR content - but, if you plan on watching anything in 4K, you should upgrade to the TCL instead.
- Looking for the best of the best? These are the best 55-inch TVs