Looking for advice on a new TV: TCL 6 Series vs Vizio P Series or something else?

Robert Crawford

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Josh Steinberg

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I’m not a gamer (beyond maybe a couple Nintendo and Super Nintendo games), but my wife is - she’s got the PS4.

She was playing something called Horizon Zero Dawn when I got home from work. I watched for a few minutes and the picture quality was impressive on the TCL. I asked about input lag and she said she didn’t observe any. So I think this set is probably a-ok for any gamers out there.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Observations after about a week:

-There is some slight (and I mean VERY slight) vignetting in the extreme corners of the set - in other words, it's slightly darker there. It's really almost impossible to notice. And it's totally within the letterbox bars for 1.85:1 content (and obviously within the bars for 1.33:1 and 2.35:1 content), so this is a total non-issue to me. I had to be alerted that this was even a thing with some of these TVs to look for it before I noticed.

-I really haven't watched anything that would be mindblowing demo material, but I continue to be very happy with how it handles the type of content I usually watch on TV. The "M*A*S*H" DVDs don't look great, but that's an accurate reflection of what's on the disc. "Star Trek: The Next Generation" continues to look phenomenal, with great blacks (especially in the space scenes), and good reproduction of color. I've been revisiting Aqua Teen Hunger Force on DVD, which is a ten minute per episode extremely low budget animated show, and those look as they should.

-The TV appears to be able to play native PAL material without any conversion - or the TV is capable of doing the conversion itself. I've fed it both HD 1080i/50 content (from data files) and SD PAL content (from discs) and both have displayed perfectly. My projector does this, and my Oppo player can do conversions on the fly, so it wouldn't have been the end of the world if the TV couldn't handle the signals - but it's nice that it can.

-While the built-in speakers aren't of the same quality as some of the older, larger tube televisions, it's been much better than I was led to believe from online reviews. I generally reserve my surround sound for movies on the projector, and generally prefer to watch TV shows with audio coming from the TV speakers. I had been prepared to use the receiver for surround sound more often if the TV built-in audio had been un-listenable, but that hasn't been a problem.

My biggest concern with going 4K was that it was going to make all of the non-4K material (and especially the standard definition DVD material I have, along with the 720p and 1080i signals from my cable box) look terrible, and I'm so pleased that that hasn't been the case. This TV has, so far, accomplished every goal I was trying to achieve by purchasing it. (Only exception is that it doesn't do 3D, but since no new 2018 TVs do 3D, I don't think it's fair to single out this specific set for that fault.)

I realize this is counter-intuitive in some ways, but it's been important to me personally to keep "movie watching" and "TV watching" as separate experiences. There are of course exceptions to this rule, but in general, I want to enjoy content made for television on a television, and I want to enjoy content made for theatrical exhibition on a projection screen. I find I get something different out of each experience when I do it that way, and each are enjoyable at the right time for their own reasons. This new TV has allowed me to continue viewing content in the way I prefer, and for that, I am very appreciative and satisfied with my purchase.

(Happy to answer any specific questions about the TV if anyone has any.)
 

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I was also torn between the two models you mentioned. I wound up getting the Vizio P-55 F1 because my previous Vizio (the E series, 50-inch) had served me so well. And the reviews for this model were top notch from every reputable site. Also, I read that the TCL logo on the bottom center of the bezel stayed lit up, and there was no way to turn it off (not sure if this is true). If that's the case, I would have had to cover it up every time I watched a movie in the dark (which I always do).

So far I'm very happy with the Vizio, but as you mentioned, the fact that it's 4K can have its drawbacks, too. One thing I've noticed is when I'm watching local channels, there is a lot of "noise" around the letters of words and logos that are superimposed on the screen. I watched a Blu-Ray last night and it looked immaculate. No noise, and the blacks were astonishing. But I do watch a lot of network TV, so I'm hoping the fact that they're all broadcast in 1080p won't be a detriment to my enjoyment. I spent a long time calibrating the TV based on recommendations from a few Youtube channels, but I'm open to suggestions about how to maybe eliminate the noise I'm seeing as described above.

Thanks!
 

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Josh, I think your idea of separating television shows for a TV and movies for projection works great for you, but one of the things I adored about the rise of surround sound in the home was that high definition television programs began to take on the quality of movies when shown with their full sound palettes. I would NEVER watch a television program without my sound system in operation; even old mono shows like Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, or The Dick Van Dyke Show are more enjoyable for me when the sound they have to offer is as robust as can be.

When I got my OLED two years ago, my plasma migrated into my living room, and while I didn't want to set up a full surround system in there, too, I bought a 2.1 soundbar/sub to fill that room with sound whenever I am in there watching something either on disc, over the air, or streaming. I want full-bodied sound whenever I am viewing something. (I live alone, so I don't have to worry about a partner being disturbed somewhere else by the sound levels in the house. I know others' mileage may vary according to their own situations.)
 

Josh Steinberg

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Matt, that's a well-taken point. There are some exceptions to my "don't use the surround with TV shows" preference - I couldn't imagine watching Twin Peaks without having the surround sound for David Lynch's expansive soundscapes.

I also get worried - perhaps unnecessarily so - that if I use the surround sound on the TV when I'm watching late at night that I'll end up waking up my wife, but just thinking about it now, I realize I don't worry when I watch a movie, so that hesitation doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. I don't really have a great justification for preferring TV sound through TV speakers, but that always seems to be what I default to.

I think I could probably stand to use the surround sound more often than I do, though. I'll try to remember to give it a shot more often :)
 

Robert Crawford

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Hey, people like what they like!
That's true. I can't watch any TV without at least 5.1 audio. My main HT has 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos setup, but my Bedroom and Computer/Office HT setups have 5.1 setup.
 

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I've had my main TV running through some form of surround receiver for 20+ years. Everything is watched on the main TV using the A/V receiver for the fullest sound, be it surround or other. I can't recall the last time I've used just the TV speakers with our main TV. I enjoy the full surround sound and clarity of the dialogue and the ambiance you get with multiple speakers.

Now with bedroom TV's I've never gone the 5.1 route. It's just the TV speakers.
 

Scott Merryfield

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I've had my main TV running through some form of surround receiver for 20+ years. Everything is watched on the main TV using the A/V receiver for the fullest sound, be it surround or other. I can't recall the last time I've used just the TV speakers with our main TV. I enjoy the full surround sound and clarity of the dialogue and the ambiance you get with multiple speakers.

Now with bedroom TV's I've never gone the 5.1 route. It's just the TV speakers.
I am the same way. My main setup has been accompanied with a surround sound system for over 25 years, and even before ProLogic systems were available I ran my TV and VCR sound through a stereo receiver -- even going back to my bachelor apartment days in the 1980's.

I did have a 2.1 channel setup in our master bedroom at one time, but removed it several years ago. My wife is the main user of that setup, and she doesn't really care about the improved sound for what she watches. The audio setup just got in our way, so I took it out when we replaced the old tube set with our first LCD display in there. We now have a 49-inch 4K Samsung display in that room, but still just use the built-in speakers. It's probably 90% cable TV viewing by my wife, with 9% streaming and 1% playing films via disc. I have thought about adding a soundbar, but it just seems unnecessary for how we use that setup.
 

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I tested out a soundbar last year in the main room thinking maybe since they are much more advanced now and took up less space we could retire all the tower speakers etc. I think that test lasted 30 minutes before I boxed it all up and returned it to BB. Just can't beat the full sound of having true surround with a nice sub attached.
 
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Josh, I think your idea of separating television shows for a TV and movies for projection works great for you, but one of the things I adored about the rise of surround sound in the home was that high definition television programs began to take on the quality of movies when shown with their full sound palettes. I would NEVER watch a television program without my sound system in operation; even old mono shows like Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, or The Dick Van Dyke Show are more enjoyable for me when the sound they have to offer is as robust as can be.

When I got my OLED two years ago, my plasma migrated into my living room, and while I didn't want to set up a full surround system in there, too, I bought a 2.1 soundbar/sub to fill that room with sound whenever I am in there watching something either on disc, over the air, or streaming. I want full-bodied sound whenever I am viewing something. (I live alone, so I don't have to worry about a partner being disturbed somewhere else by the sound levels in the house. I know others' mileage may vary according to their own situations.)
With the viewing situations you describe in mind, along with the wife’s not wanting to deal with the AVR setting every time she turns in the TV, I’ve had to come up with a two tier setup on the main HT. One is a simple sound bar setup and the other of course is the full AVR setup.

The simple setup consist of the Viz 75 and a 38” Vizio soundbar. Quick & easy turn on for regular TV and the soundbar and the sound is very acceptable. Works well too with the Music Choice channels on Spectrum. I can have the music play thru the soundbar with the TV off by connecting the soundbar directly to the cable box using the RCA jacks. I use the optical cable to connect soundbar to the TV.
I also have a separate subwoofer connected to the soundbar.

Of course this means that I don’t have the cable box connected to the AVR but I don’t miss it when watching regular TV. The sound bar does a great job.

Besides nowadays sound bars are being offered with Dolby Atmos and 5.1 speaker setups. I’ll have one of these 5.1 (without Atmos) bars on our bedroom TV this Christmas.

The fun will come on the bedroom TV when I hook my the old Denon X2000 after I get some new speakers and a second region free Sony X700 UHD Blu-ray player.
 

JQuintana

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...along with the wife’s not wanting to deal with the AVR setting every time she turns in the TV, I’ve had to come up with a two tier setup on the main HT. One is a simple sound bar setup and the other of course is the full AVR setup.

I solved the "wife A/V" issues long ago when I started buying Harmony remotes. Now it's 1 button push and she's streaming Food Network, or HGTV, or local TV etc. I made it even simpler now using my Google Home with Harmony. She just walks in room and says "lights on" and the Xmas tree comes on and "watch HGTV" and TV comes on and she starts watching her stories.

:)
 

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Hey Josh, I’m very late to this thread. Glad to see you found a replacement TV for your dead Plasma. I’m not that familiar with TCL, in fact, I never heard of it. :). Glad you made a choice and it’s working.

Your posts have had me thinking, since I got my Panasonic plasma repaired and it’s working, I’d always wondered about a projector. But I never really got beyond thinking about it. So it’s interesting to see how you make that work, projector for films and TV for other stuff. I was at a friend’s house the other night and he has one of those projectors that sits on a credenza at about a foot or less away from the wall and it projects up and is a pretty large image. We looked at a scene from Star Trek The Cage. It was steaming from Vudu if I recall correctly. I was impressed that The Cage, remastered, looked so good. I’m not positive, but I think it is a 1080 projector. And so the Vudu stream not being from a blu ray source, looked pretty good! Reminded me of the olden days at Star Trek conventions when episodes were being screened from prints projected from the film projector. Maybe I’ll give a projector some more consideration. Setting up a screen might be an issue for my room. Watching Star Trek TOS projected as a large image will be fun though.

Hope you enjoy your new set-up for a long time!
 

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Apropos of nothing, I had an interesting observation.

Using the TV’s built-in Roku, I downloaded the Vudu app and tried playing clips from some movies that I had HD (not 4K) streaming copies of, like Avengers: Infinity War. On the TV’s Vudu app, I thought it looked good but not as good as the Blu-ray disc. The image looked “thin” for lack of a better description, with weak color and contrast, and the faintest hint of digital compression.

I was gifted an AppleTV 4K for Christmas. I just set that up and I also downloaded the Vudu app on it. I pulled up that same HD (not 4K) version of Avengers: Infinity War on the AppleTV’s Vudu app, and it looked a lot better than it did using the Roku Vudu app. The thinness I noticed was gone, and the image seemed strong and colorful, almost identical to the Blu-ray disc.

First time I’ve done that A/B comparison on this set.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Apropos of nothing, I had an interesting observation.

Using the TV’s built-in Roku, I downloaded the Vudu app and tried playing clips from some movies that I had HD (not 4K) streaming copies of, like Avengers: Infinity War. On the TV’s Vudu app, I thought it looked good but not as good as the Blu-ray disc. The image looked “thin” for lack of a better description, with weak color and contrast, and the faintest hint of digital compression.

I was gifted an AppleTV 4K for Christmas. I just set that up and I also downloaded the Vudu app on it. I pulled up that same HD (not 4K) version of Avengers: Infinity War on the AppleTV’s Vudu app, and it looked a lot better than it did using the Roku Vudu app. The thinness I noticed was gone, and the image seemed strong and colorful, almost identical to the Blu-ray disc.

First time I’ve done that A/B comparison on this set.
I'm not surprise that the 4KATV picture looks better. I have a Roku and 4KATV in each of my three home theaters and I think the 4KATV outperforms the Roku in each HT location.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I'm not surprise that the 4KATV picture looks better. I have a Roku and 4KATV in each of my three home theaters and I think the 4KATV outperforms the Roku in each HT location.
Why both? Does the Roku do something the ATV can’t?
 

Robert Crawford

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Why both? Does the Roku do something the ATV can’t?
I had my Roku units prior to buying my 4KATV units and then Movies Anywhere came along which changed everything along with the Vudu app and Dolby Atmos support later on iTunes/4KATV.
 
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