TCL Series 6 TV

Just got a new TV, a TCL 6 Series and couldn’t be happier. I bought it after this glowing review. Pretty much every other review says the same thing; excellent picture quality for the price. It’s quite cheap even for an LCD TV, and definitely way way cheaper than an OLED.

I’m not able to judge picture quality except to say it looks great to me. It’s better than the 2013 era Samsung panel it replaced; brighter, bigger, sharper. The 4K 60fps demo reels look amazing. Of course the default picture settings are oversaturated garbage, but fixing that isn’t too hard.

The key picture setting for this screen is “movie mode”. That means “don’t blow out the colors”. However when you enable that it also for some dumb reason defaults to “warm color temperature”, which shifts all the colors to the red. So set that back to normal. Also it turns off Local Contrast which is one of the nice features of the set, so turn that on to high. Then turn off all the fancy motion interpolation type stuff and it looks pretty great.

I particularly like that there’s a quick setting for “darker / normal / brighter”, which means you might actually change that based on time of day and room lighting. There’s also a game mode for HDMI inputs that has decent latency (19ms, or just about one frame).

One nice feature for this set is that its operating system is Roku. Not some dumb badly designed TV manufacturer stuff, just good ol’ Roku with its open ecosystem of third party channels. I’ve been using Roku devices for years, mostly for Plex and Netflix and Amazon, it’s nice to have it native in the TV. I managed to get ARC (“Audio Return Channel”) working so the sound is still being sent to my fancy AV receiver for decoding.

Speaking of the receiver, I’m less clear on what to do with it now. It’s limited to 1080p (or 2160p @ 30 fps, lol). And seems to block HDR too, or at least my PS4 won’t do HDR through it. I guess I could just plug all my inputs in to the TV and use the receiver solely as a digital audio decoder + amplifier. The wiring is tidier if the receiver is a switch, but then I can’t pass 4K/HDR content through it. If I didn’t already have speakers installed in my walls I think I might just get a nice soundbar and call it a day.

Still haven’t considered the joy of making my old Logitech universal remote drive the new system. Need to settle down how the receiver fits in first.

4K is still such a bandwidth hog I can’t imagine I’ll be using it much if any for watching video. Would like it for games though. HDR interests me much more, it’s great we can finally get higher contrast ratios on TV sets. Apparently there’s competing standards for HDR, awesome. This panel supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10, which I guess are the two most common formats. Hopefully that’s good enough.