TCL 6 series could be the most incredible TV value of 2018

    Ty Pendlebury/CNET

    I will not know for certain till I can evaluation it, however on paper the TCL 6 collection seems to be like the most effective TV for the cash this 12 months.

    For the final two years that honor has gone to Vizio, the No. 2 TV maker within the US after Samsung. I gave the 2017 Vizio M series our Editors’ Selection award for hitting the elusive candy spot between image high quality and value.

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    TCL 6 collection seems to be like a video high quality worth winner


    This 12 months, nonetheless, TCL’s 6 collection is Vizio’s worst nightmare. Out there in the present day beginning at a really inexpensive $600, it is available in 55- and 65-inch sizes. Identical to its predecessor, final 12 months’s 55-inch P series, the 6 collection combines the most effective sensible TV system, Roku TV, with crucial image high quality function I search for in an LCD TV: full-array local dimming, one thing TCL calls “distinction management zones.” 

    And identical to final 12 months, TCL reserves the least-expensive fashions solely for Greatest Purchase. This is how they break down.

    TCL 6 collection fashions and costs

    Mannequin Dimension Dimming zones Distant management Out there at Worth
    55R615 55-inch 96 Fundamental Greatest Purchase $600
    65R615 65-inch 120 Fundamental Greatest Purchase $950
    55R617 55-inch 96 Voice Amazon, others $650
    65R617 65-inch 120 Voice Amazon, others $1,000

    The one distinction between the 615 fashions at Greatest Purchase and the 617 fashions obtainable at Amazon and elsewhere is the distant — the TVs themselves are precisely the identical. The 617’s distant has a mic for voice search and different voice instructions and in addition makes use of RF (radio frequency) to speak with the TV, so you may level it anyplace. (In case you are questioning, the 2018 clicker is lacking the headphone jack and distant finder options discovered on its predecessor.)

    The 615’s distant lacks voice assist — though you may nonetheless problem voice instructions utilizing your telephone by way of the Roku app — and makes use of commonplace IR (infrared) communication. If you happen to do not care in regards to the distant, the Greatest Purchase model is the higher worth at $50 much less.

    Image high quality bins: Checked

    However overlook the distant: the primary enchantment of the 6 collection is its probably glorious picture high quality. These “distinction management zones” ought to considerably enhance black ranges and distinction, the constructing blocks of a high-quality residence theater image, particularly with HDR (excessive dynamic vary) TV reveals and films. 

    Having extra dimming zones does not essentially imply higher picture high quality, however it will probably assist. That is as a result of smaller, extra quite a few zones enable the picture to gentle up (and dim) extra exactly, higher separating the components of the picture that ought to be brighter from the components that ought to be darker. It helps eradicate “blooming,” the place a vivid space can lighten one which ought to be darkish. The 6 collection has considerably extra zones than Vizio’s 2018 M and P collection, whereas Sony and Samsung do not reveal their numbers of dimming zones.


    TCL’s particular demo TV, with the LEDs themselves uncovered, reveals its excessive variety of dimming zones. 

    Ty Pendlebury/CNET

    TCL additionally touts a couple of different picture high quality extras. The 6 collection has WCG (wide color gamut) capabilities, due to NBP Photon know-how (Nano Band Phosphor) — a buzzword meaning coloration ought to come nearer to the total DCI-P3 gamut that is perfect for HDR. TCL has additionally added a few HDR (high dynamic range) choices designed to make darkish scenes extra seen in vivid rooms. And identical to final 12 months, the 6 collection helps each Dolby Vision and HDR10 excessive dynamic vary codecs. 

    TCL says the 6 collection can get brighter than the P from final 12 months, however did not specify a number of nits. It additionally touts a “120Hz clear movement index,” however as usual, that’s a made-up number. The 6 collection has 60Hz native panel.

    Why Vizio ought to be shaking in its boots

    TV makers like Samsung and Sony make excellent-performing non-OLED TVs, however they reserve their greatest image high quality options, like full-array native dimming, for TVs that price much more than Vizio’s and TCL’s. The Sony X900F at the moment goes for $2,200 at 65 inches, whereas the Samsung Q8 prices $2,800. Alternatively, these TVs have much more model cachet than TCL and Vizio.

    If you happen to care much less about model and most about getting the most effective image high quality for the cash, nonetheless, the highest selections for 2018 are Vizio’s M and P series, and TCL’s 6 collection. That is as a result of they price about half as a lot as these Sonys and Samsungs. To desk 2!

    TCL 6 collection vs. Vizio M- and P-series

    Model Mannequin Dimension Dimming zones Worth
    TCL 55R515 55-inch 96 $600
    TCL 55R617 55-inch 96 $650
    Vizio M55-F0 55-inch 32 $700
    Vizio P55-F1 55-inch 56 $900
    TCL 65R615 65-inch 120 $950
    TCL 65R617 65-inch 120 $1,000
    Vizio M65-F0 65-inch 40 $1,000
    Vizio P65-F1 65-inch 100 $1,300
    Vizio M70-F3 70-inch 48 $1,500
    Vizio P75-F1 75-inch 120 $2,500

    On paper, TCL beats Vizio for value and variety of dimming zones. The one exception is the 65-inch dimension, the place the TCL R617 prices the identical because the Vizio M65-F0. 

    Past picture high quality, TCL has a giant benefit in Good TV. It makes use of the Roku working system, which delivers best-in-class app choice and ease of use. Vizio’s SmartCast system was my least favourite final 12 months amongst all the most important TV makers, and whereas the 2018 model reveals some enchancment, I severely doubt it is going to be higher than Roku.


    TCL’s Roku TV system runs circles round Vizio’s SmartCast.

    Ty Pendlebury/CNET

    Vizio does provide fashions bigger than 65 inches, one thing TCL’s 6 collection doesn’t. After I requested TCL’s Senior Vice President Chris Larson the explanation, he stated native dimming and actually massive TVs have not caught on as a lot in markets outdoors North America, so it did not make as a lot sense for the corporate to provide an even bigger 6 collection in 2018. He hinted new fabrication facility designed to ship bigger sizes might change that calculation in 2019 or past, nonetheless.

    That is all I do know thus far, and why I give the TCL 6 collection the sting over Vizio within the early worth race. In fact I will not know the winner till I evaluation the TVs in particular person, however judging from final 12 months, the place the TCL P collection was nearly as good or higher than the Vizio M in most areas, they need to be very shut. Keep tuned for the ultimate verdict.

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