J

JengaHit

Audioholic Intern
Looking to upgrade my 10+ yr-old 54" Panasonic plasma (still working w/o a hitch) to larger screen size LED LCD. Considering 75" 6 Series TCL.

Any feedback from TCL owners on reliability and durability? And DSE, banding? I like the PQ. The 6 series is a good value that has PQ, good off-axis viewing, and features like FALD, similar to premium brands like Samsung, LG, and Sony, for less money. (Have decided to forgo Vizio and Hisense since Consumer Reports de-recommended them this Spring, due to reliability issues.)
 
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TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Looking to upgrade my 10+ yr-old 54" Panasonic plasma (still working w/o a hitch) to larger screen size LED LCD. Considering 75" 6 Series TCL.

Any feedback from TCL owners on reliability and durability? And DSE, banding? I like the PQ. The 6 series is a good value that has PQ, good off-axis viewing, and features like FALD, similar to premium brands like Samsung, LG, and Sony, for less money. (Have decided to forgo Vizio and Hisense since Consumer Reports de-recommended them this Spring, due to reliability issues.)
Unless you buy a really expensive OLED (absolute top of the line) you will be getting a downgrade. The vast majority of TVs on the market now are much worse than those Panasonic plasma TVs 4 K or other wise.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
TCL is the bottom of the barrel Chinese band. Since last year they have decided to venture into the mid-range wagon to improve margins with TV sets with pretentions of high-end features for mid-range money.
my current go-to sites for TV sets reviews is rtings.com - highly recommend it.

Like Mark said, going with almost anything else but OLED will be stepping down in some aspects, like motion and contrast. I'm also a proud owner of Panasonic plasma, and even though I had to do repairs on it a few years ago, I still plan to use it until the next coming.
That said, I've seen in person Vizio P series Quantum X and while it does not have 100% OLED quality, it's 99.99% there at a much lower price for larger panels especially (OLED is really expensive to make very large)
 
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J

JengaHit

Audioholic Intern
Unless you buy a really expensive OLED (absolute top of the line) you will be getting a downgrade. The vast majority of TVs on the market now are much worse than those Panasonic plasma TVs 4 K or other wise.
Yeah, that's why I've been on the fence. Yearning for larger screen size but the LCDs I've demo'ed largely don't have the color saturation or richness of my plasma. Also the off-axis viewing is inferior and washed out. The other issue is reliability. I've a lot of friends and relatives who've had LCDs they paid $2000 and up for just poop out after 2 or 3 years. And these are premium brands like Samsung and Sony. That's why I'm looking at value sets, even if it's a downgrade for bigger screen size. Not willing to shell out $2K + for a set that won't last longer than several years.
 
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J

JengaHit

Audioholic Intern
TCL is the bottom of the barrel Chinese band. Since last year they have decided to venture into the mid-range wagon to improve margins with TV sets with pretentions of high-end features for mid-range money.
my current go-to sites for TV sets reviews is rtings.com - highly recommend it.

Like Mark said, going with almost anything else but OLED will be stepping down in some aspects, like motion and contrast. I'm also a proud owner of Panasonic plasma, and even though I had to do repairs on it a few years ago, I still plan to use it until the next coming.
That said, I've seen in person Vizio P series Quantum X and while it does not have 100% OLED quality, it's 99.99% there at a much lower price for larger panels especially (OLED is really expensive to make very large)
They don't make 'em like they used to. Never had any problems for 10+ years of my Panasonic plasma. Still going strong. I was impressed by the Vizio QX picture at Costco; it compared favorably with a LG OLED it was next to. But as I said, Consumer Reports declining to recommend Vizio anymore because of reliability has put me off that brand. OLED is still more than I want to spend. The other option I've been investigating is a projector. But then because it would have to be in a multi-purpose living room, I'd have to invest in a retractable screen. More money.

Thanks for the link to the ratings site.
 
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G

Grandzoltar

Full Audioholic
The problem with vizio is their software. Their load times very slow and operating system is very buggy they constantly are updating trying to patch it. The Sony 950g is a better buy than the Vizio QX because when I was in the market those were my two choices after seeing them in person and searching sites like Rtings.com and a few others that review TVs well. I bought the Sony.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
"Consumer reports" unfortunately doesn't fully serve me as an absolute reference and a golden source of truth for all things. They do test some of the things in a sometimes limited fashion. Reliability is impossible to establish without a significant sampling size and they largely rely on their subscribers' surveys to gather all reliability data.
Bottom line - they don't make things as they used to. It's a race to the bottom line and only losers are us, the consumers.
 
J

JengaHit

Audioholic Intern
"Consumer reports" unfortunately doesn't fully serve me as an absolute reference and a golden source of truth for all things. They do test some of the things in a sometimes limited fashion. Reliability is impossible to establish without a significant sampling size and they largely rely on their subscribers' surveys to gather all reliability data.
Bottom line - they don't make things as they used to. It's a race to the bottom line and only losers are us, the consumers.
You're right, sample size is limited to CR subscriber base. In CR's announcement they mention 97,554 sets purchased between 2010 and 2018, but don't break that down by brand. They do report that of that total sample Samsung, LG, and Sony had the highest owner satisfaction, with TCL a notch below. But even within those limits it's still enough to give me pause. Not the last word, but another data point to consider.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
You're right, sample size is limited to CR subscriber base. In CR's announcement they mention 97,554 sets purchased between 2010 and 2018, but don't break that down by brand. They do report that of that total sample Samsung, LG, and Sony had the highest owner satisfaction, with TCL a notch below. But even within those limits it's still enough to give me pause. Not the last word, but another data point to consider.
FWIW LG TVs used to have horrible reliability and were some of the most expensive.

I have a 70" Vizio in my living room because that's the TV the kids use. My plasma was moved to my office where I could actually appreciate the PQ.

Vizio has been around a very long time in the US and makes a good product, but is still not a top tier manufacturer. That's the cheapest brand I'd buy simply because you get what you pay for.

TCL seems to be decent for the money, but don't expect excellent PQ or reliability regardless of what CR says. Plus, I had to scroll pretty far down in their app to even find a TCL TV.

While I get that you don't want to spend a lot you do need to consider how far your money will travel. Buying a cheap TV now only to replace it in 2 years makes a lot less sense than buying a better (more reliable) brand and keeping it for 5+ years.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
In many ways, I am a "bottom feeder" when it comes to TV's.
I had a Panasonic Plasma and it was great, but when it was time to upgrade to a larger screen (by over 50% if you calculate area of the screen - which is what matters),I have no regrets. Unless you are too close to the screen, bigger simply outweighs refinement (although we would all prefer both). My ex got the Plasma - aside from the furniture, our deal was everything upstairs aside from audio gear was hers and the basement (my woodworking shop) was mine.
In the last decade I have bought (or advised people who bought) Sceptre, Sharp, Element (these three qualify me for my bottom feeder comment),TCL, Vizio, and Samsung. I have never had a TV reliability problem in my life aside from a Mitsubishi CRT! It was a relatively advanced/expensive unit.
My thinking on this is if you are buying something like a TCL or Vizio (or Element or Sceptre or Sharp) they are not pushing into the "bleeding edge" of new technology and you will be fine for reliability. That said, the Sharp used Roku (which is why I bought it),but they did a poor implementation where after a few firmware upgrades the connection between the modem and the Roku took too long to connect and I ended up adding an external Roku. But the TV works fine!
The big advantage of the TCL is that it uses Roku (and implements it well) which is superior to any other Smart TV interface I have seen. If you plan to use an external streamer (which I would recommend),this is not a big factor. With TCL, I would plan on adding a Roku (or Fire Stick) in 2-3 years. Historically, for me, that is when buying a new one has yielded enough performance/feature improvement to justify the upgrade. Obviously you would not upgrade your TV after 2-3 years, so that is why I don't really like the idea of smart TV's (and the fact that it doesn't cost much to upgrade the streamer).
I guess I should add that I do not watch too much TV. My GF does and she has had Element, Sharp, and TCL. These have all seen steady use (they have migrated to her kids/grandkids as she up-sized) without any issues!
 
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C

CajunLB

Junior Audioholic
I have had the tcl 6 series for a few years now. As an actual owner I can tell you it’s an excellent “bottom of the barrel “ set with a good picture and Roku system. You do have to deal with some panels having bad dse, especially if you’re sensitive to it. Not sure if tcl has addressed this issue.
 
J

JengaHit

Audioholic Intern
FWIW LG TVs used to have horrible reliability and were some of the most expensive.

I have a 70" Vizio in my living room because that's the TV the kids use. My plasma was moved to my office where I could actually appreciate the PQ.

Vizio has been around a very long time in the US and makes a good product, but is still not a top tier manufacturer. That's the cheapest brand I'd buy simply because you get what you pay for.

TCL seems to be decent for the money, but don't expect excellent PQ or reliability regardless of what CR says. Plus, I had to scroll pretty far down in their app to even find a TCL TV.

While I get that you don't want to spend a lot you do need to consider how far your money will travel. Buying a cheap TV now only to replace it in 2 years makes a lot less sense than buying a better (more reliable) brand and keeping it for 5+ years.
Yes, a number of TCL owner reviews have been reporting banding and DSE issues, which concerns me. They're calling it panel lottery, which I guess refers to manufacturing issues TCL has been having (maybe they've fixed those?). That's been a reason for holding the trigger on a TCL. Generally, reading reviews on rtings.com reveals the trade-offs with low vs high-end sets. Seems IPS low-end sets (like LG's) give you wider viewing angles. But high-end VA sets yield better HDR implementation, black uniformity, & black levels, but washed-out off-axis viewing. You can't get everything. If I'm going low, I'm tempted for now to get a lower-end LG, bet on its reliability, and live with less-than-stellar PQ to get the wider viewing angles to accommodate more viewers (even though it still won't approach plasma off-axis PQ). And then in the meantime save up for a projector/screen set-up for really largescale immersive viewing.
 
J

JengaHit

Audioholic Intern
In many ways, I am a "bottom feeder" when it comes to TV's.
I had a Panasonic Plasma and it was great, but when it was time to upgrade to a larger screen (by over 50% if you calculate area of the screen - which is what matters),I have no regrets. Unless you are too close to the screen, bigger simply outweighs refinement (although we would all prefer both). My ex got the Plasma - aside from the furniture, or deal was everything upstairs aside from audio gear was hers and the basement (my woodworking shop) was mine.
In the last decade I have bought (or advised people who bought) Sceptre, Sharp, Element (these three qualify me for my bottom feeder comment),TCL, Vizio, and Samsung. I have never had a TV reliability problem in my life aside from a Mitsubishi CRT! It was a relatively advanced/expensive unit.
My thinking on this is if you are buying something like a TCL or Vizio (or Element or Sceptre or Sharp) they are not pushing into the "bleeding edge" of new technology and you will be fine for reliability. That said, the Sharp used Roku (which is why I bought it),but they did a poor implementation where after a few firmware upgrades the connection between the modem and the Roku took too long to connect and I ended up adding an external Roku. But the TV works fine!
The big advantage of the TCL is that it uses Roku (and implements it well) which is superior to any other Smart TV interface I have seen. If you plan to use an external streamer (which I would recommend),this is not a big factor. With TCL, I would plan on adding a Roku (or Fire Stick) in 2-3 years. Historically, for me, that is when buying a new one has yielded enough performance/feature improvement to justify the upgrade. Obviously you would not upgrade your TV after 2-3 years, so that is why I don't really like the idea of smart TV's (and the fact that it doesn't cost much to upgrade the streamer).
I guess I should add that I do not watch too much TV. My GF does and she has had Element, Sharp, and TCL. These have all seen steady use (they have migrated to her kids/grandkids as she up-sized) without any issues!
I agree that bigger outweighs refinement if you're not sitting too close. That's been my main reason for upgrading to a larger screen. I'm also using a Sony UBP-X700 blu-ray player as my external streamer, which is just fine, as I only stream NF, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube. So I really don't need all the smart features of a more expensive set.
 
C

CajunLB

Junior Audioholic
My set has the dse issues and I only notice it during a paused totally white or gray screen. I never notice it with actual content though. I’m either not very sensitive to it or I’m not a “videophile “. Either way I am very happy with my tcl 6 series. Ive read the new 6 series adds a few features trickledown from the new flagship 8 series.
 
C

CajunLB

Junior Audioholic
You probably would be better of looking at IPS panel if off axis viewing is very important to you though. Some VA panels do better than others but I believe none are as good as IPS when it comes to that.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
My set has the dse issues and I only notice it during a paused totally white or gray screen. I never notice it with actual content though. I’m either not very sensitive to it or I’m not a “videophile “. Either way I am very happy with my tcl 6 series. Ive read the new 6 series adds a few features trickledown from the new flagship 8 series.
That makes sense!
On a computer monitor, once you know where it is you see it all of the time, but with a modern large screen and all of the pixels, it would be easy for one to disappear when there is any motion on the screen.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Yes, a number of TCL owner reviews have been reporting banding and DSE issues, which concerns me. They're calling it panel lottery, which I guess refers to manufacturing issues TCL has been having (maybe they've fixed those?). That's been a reason for holding the trigger on a TCL. Generally, reading reviews on rtings.com reveals the trade-offs with low vs high-end sets. Seems IPS low-end sets (like LG's) give you wider viewing angles. But high-end VA sets yield better HDR implementation, black uniformity, & black levels, but washed-out off-axis viewing. You can't get everything. If I'm going low, I'm tempted for now to get a lower-end LG, bet on its reliability, and live with less-than-stellar PQ to get the wider viewing angles to accommodate more viewers (even though it still won't approach plasma off-axis PQ). And then in the meantime save up for a projector/screen set-up for really largescale immersive viewing.
The thing about most TV manufacturers is that they don't make their own panels. That's why some of the cheapo brands have issues. Some of the panels are great, some aren't.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
I think a key is buying from a store with a decent return policy when buying cheap can sometimes be like playing the lottery.

I have a client with a TCL that they use out on their patio. It's been there for a couple of years and continues to work. This is a pretty standard covered/screened in patio that they threw a waterproof cover over the TV when not in use to help protect it, but otherwise it's been outside for a couple of Summers/Winters now. Keeps running well for them.

In my brief setup/viewing of the TV it looked perfectly fine. With the outside location it's not like black levels were a real concern and the brightness was perfect for watching TV and sports on it. The integrated Roku was a real plus and certainly a reason why I respect what TCL has done. It also makes me wonder why projector manufacturers haven't contracted with Roku to get the product into their projectors. That would be amazing for so many models.

Anyway, I give a thumbs up for TCL is the goal is to get a acceptable image into any room. It's not something to brag about, but you can certainly go out to a nice restaurant for a good meal with the money you save.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
I think a key is buying from a store with a decent return policy when buying cheap can sometimes be like playing the lottery.
This really is the key. If you do get a cheapo TV then splurge for the extended warranty. Costo does it automatically and so do some credit cards. The warranty should be quite cheap though, but still offer full replacement. I had many a customer use this warranty back in the day. Really helped them out.
 

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