TCL 48" LED-LCD TV for Under $500 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-07-2014, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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This week, Chinese manufacturing giant TCL invited me to its private suite at the famous Chinese Theater in Hollywood to see its new 48" 1080p LED-LCD TV, the 48FS4690, which will be available in the US exclusively at Sam's Club for a month or so, then at other retail outlets. The visit was timed to coincide with the premier of 300: Rise of an Empire, which I didn't watch because I have zero interest—in fact, negative interest—in blood-and-guts movies.

 

The 48" TCL 48FS4690 LED direct-lit LCD TV in TCL's private suite at the world-famous Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA.

 

The big news here is the list price: $450! I remember when flat-panel prices were struggling to get below $100 per diagonal screen inch, and now this model sets the bar at a tenth of that amount. Granted, it's a basic flat panel with no online apps, no 3D, and 60 Hz refresh rate, but if that's all you need, you'll be hard pressed to find it for less at this screen size.

 

The 48FS4690 uses LED direct backlighting, which means the LEDs are mounted in an array behind the LCD panel, not along the edges, with no local dimming, which isn't surprising at this price. Still, I generally prefer direct backlighting over edgelighting because it tends to have better uniformity of illumination.

 

I brought the Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark 2nd Edition setup Blu-ray in case they let me fiddle with the controls, which they did. In fact, the company reps paid close attention to what I was doing, which is a good sign that the company wants to improve its products.

 

As I looked at the patterns for adjusting contrast and brightness, it became immediately apparent that the set does not display below-black or much above-white; it clips everything below 16 and above 241. (Brightness is encoded as an 8-bit number, so its value can extend from 0 to 255, but video is defined from 16 to 235. Still, a TV should display the full range so the contrast and brightness controls can be set properly, especially since there is white information above 235 in some video content.)

 

Even with this limitation, I was able to set the brightness and contrast controls, and these settings were the same as the default settings in the Cinematic picture mode. Using the blue filter that comes with the disc, the default color setting was right on the money, but the tint setting was a bit high—odd, since in most cases these days, the default tint setting is fine. The only control that needed significant adjustment was sharpness—at the default setting, the set exhibited some serious edge-enhancement ringing, which disappeared only at very low settings; I set it to 0.

 

Note to TCL: in future sets, have the menu disappear when adjusting a picture control. As it is, the menu blocks a good deal of the images that are used to set those controls. I was still able to make the adjustments, but it would have been much nicer if the menu disappeared and the control slider moved to the bottom of the screen.

 

I also brought some movies on Blu-ray, including Stargate: Continuum, Master and Commander, and Baraka. Right away, we saw that the skin tones were too red, which was fixed by adjusting the tint control back to its default setting. Clearly, the blue filter was not accurate with this set, as is often the case with LCD TVs. Also, I thought the Neutral color-temperature setting looked closer to correct than the Warm setting, though I didn't have my measurement equipment with me to be sure. (The set offers no grayscale-calibration controls—again, not surprising at this price.)

 

Once I got things dialed in, colors looked quite good, and the detail was nice and sharp, though the shadow detail was only okay, as illustrated in the below-deck shots at the beginning of Master and Commander. Illumination uniformity was better than many edgelit LED-LCD TVs I've seen, but not perfect—in particular, there were lighter patches in the lower left portion of the screen, which extended into letterbox bars. This was also evident in the opening starfield of Stargate: Continuum, though I could also see more faint stars in that image than I've seen on many LCD screens. On the plus side, the LEDs do not jump to zero during interstitial black screens, like they do in the Samsung EH6000 series, which is also LED direct lit with no local dimming.

 

The 48FS4690 is not the be-all and end-all of flat-panel TVs by any means, but with a list price of $450, I don't expect it to be. The closest I could find is the 47" Vizio E470, which is also 1080p at 60 Hz with LED direct backlighting (no local dimming) and no online apps or 3D, for $550. I haven't taken a critical look at the E470, so I can't say if it beats the 48FS4690 in terms of illumination uniformity and shadow detail.

 

In any event, the TCL 48FS4690 represents a new pricing threshold for TVs of this size, providing reasonable performance for less than anything comparable.

 

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post #2 of 15 Old 03-07-2014, 03:04 PM
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Scott,

Best Buy has an Insignia 48" that is $450 (NS-48D510NA15), it's on sale today for $380. wink.gif

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post #3 of 15 Old 03-07-2014, 08:12 PM
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I bought a 50 inch tc-p50s60 at sears outlet the other day for 440 :P
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post #4 of 15 Old 03-08-2014, 06:12 AM
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This tv look so similar to the Sony r450 series
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post #5 of 15 Old 03-08-2014, 10:15 AM
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Two years ago I bought a 50" Panasonic S30 for six hundred bills. I saw an S60 going for less than that this winter. You can buy a 51" Samsung plasma that will spank the crap out of this set for the exact same price.

It's a shame that the warehouse club crowd will eat up this schlock with not a second thought to it's quality or origin. Products like this are an affront to our hobby.

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post #6 of 15 Old 03-08-2014, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sage11x View Post

Two years ago I bought a 50" Panasonic S30 for six hundred bills. I saw an S60 going for less than that this winter. You can buy a 51" Samsung plasma that will spank the crap out of this set for the exact same price.

It's a shame that the warehouse club crowd will eat up this schlock with not a second thought to it's quality or origin. Products like this are an affront to our hobby.
Word! Couldn't agree more!
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post #7 of 15 Old 03-08-2014, 11:32 AM
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I paid $394.99 for my TCL 50in LED from Tiger Direct recently. 

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post #8 of 15 Old 03-08-2014, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
sage11x,
It's a shame that the warehouse club crowd will eat up this schlock with not a second thought to it's quality or origin. Products like this are an affront to our hobby.

I just bought a Sony 40R450A for the bedroom it's pretty decent for a LED/LCD in it's price range it has a Samsung panel made in China the set and most of the boards the boards in it are made by Foxconn as are most Sony's and assembled in Mexico . Most Japan sets today and more all the time are are outsourced from the traditional Japan tier one brands to contract manufacturing and assy..

I have 3 HP computers all made by Foxconn as well. My newer 60" Samsung Plasma is made in China I also have a 2012 Toshiba is assembled in China with a Samsung panel in it as well and an LG 42L5300 with an LG IPS panel . You can bet the newer Panasonic LED/LCD sets are made there also they probably will be using LG IPS panels .

I like the Sammy Plasma but the Sony is far better in a bright room and fairly decent all in all so is the Toshiba we all have different ,needs rooms and preferences. Looks like Sammie and LG are the only Plasma's left now.

Some of the familiar brands likely use TCL also it's a big OEM/ODM company also. Below is some info about who makes what .
TCL and a lot of others often use some decent Samsung SPVA panels sometimes the very same panels the traditional tier one Japan brands use .
Quote:
Tom Lo, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Friday 13 December 2013]
TPV Technology, Foxconn Electronics, Compal Electronics, Wistron, Amtran Technology and Pegatron will ship 35.95 million OEM/ODM LCD TVs in 2014, increasing 5.3% on year and accounting for 16.9% of global shipments, according to Digitimes Research.

TPV will ship 16.85 million LCD TVs with Philips and Vizio to be major clients, followed by Foxconn with 7.2 million units and Sony to be the major client, Compal with 4.3 million units mainly to Toshiba, Wistron with 3.6 million units mainly to Vizio, Amtran with two million units mainly to Sharp and Vizio, and Pegatron with 1.2 million units mainly to Toshiba, Digitimes Research indicated.

This article is an excerpt from a Chinese-language Digitimes Research report.
http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20131213PD200.html

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post #9 of 15 Old 03-08-2014, 04:41 PM
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wronganswer,
This tv look so similar to the Sony r450 series

Not at all I have the Sony KDL 40R450A, I'm watching it now they don't look alike. It has pretty good picture after a firmware update . The TCL does somewhat resemble my LG 42L5300 although the TCL is better looking and might have a better picture than the LG 42L5300 which is nothing to get excited about .



Sony 450

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post #10 of 15 Old 03-09-2014, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubetwister View Post

Not at all I have the Sony KDL 40R450A, I'm watching it now they don't look alike. It has pretty good picture after a firmware update . The TCL does somewhat resemble my LG 42L5300 although the TCL is better looking and maybe not as cheaply made and might have a better picture than the LG 42L5300 which is nothing to get excited about .



Sony 450

I'm talking about technical specs, not appearance. I own the KDL50R450.
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post #11 of 15 Old 03-09-2014, 01:52 AM
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I'm talking about technical specs, not appearance. I own the KDL50R450.

Maybe you should have clarified that opinion .When you said they look alike I thought you meant they look alike How are they alike ? I think the TCL looks like my LG although they are different technically with the LG using an LG IPS panel and all and the TCL using a Samsung SVA or CSOT HVA panel .



Looks like the TCL ...... a little what do you think?

The TCL will likely have a Samsung SVA or CSOT HVA panel since those are the only 48" panels currently in production should be OK panels .
could be a bit different from the Sony technically speaking .

Did you know your set was made by Foxconn for Sony (not necessarily a bad thing from a technical standpoint they make HP PC's also) not to mention at least 40% of consumer electronics worldwide and are China's largest net exporter . My Sony was made by Foxconn for Sony also with a Samsung SPVA panel .. This is my third Sony over the years they are OK all in all pretty good pictures . The 40R450A is my bedroom set I'm watching it now
it's pretty decent and actually better looking than a lot of sets but it took a calibration and a firmware update to get it right .

Sony doesn't make the Bravia' anymore mostly just the TOTL stuff they farm Bravia's and other lines out out so do a lot of other brands . TCL makes some stuff for Samsung also .
I also have a 60" Sammie Plasma made in China by Samsung for Samsung they have factories and panel fabs there also .

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post #12 of 15 Old 03-11-2014, 07:12 AM
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i have always wondered, why is direct LED backlighting a 'cheap' backlight? is it not better in every way(that matters)?

i always thought edge lighting was a cheap way (use less LED's) at the compromise of uniformity.

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post #13 of 15 Old 03-11-2014, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

i have always wondered, why is direct LED backlighting a 'cheap' backlight? is it not better in every way(that matters)?

i always thought edge lighting was a cheap way (use less LED's) at the compromise of uniformity.

Edge lit can be thin, and thinness is the "feature" that allowed them to initially charge a premium versus fluorescent. As the cost of LED lighting has reached parity with fluorescent, there's no longer a need for a sales gimmick. It's OK if nobody can tell the difference between an LED and a fluorescent, because the price is the same.
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post #14 of 15 Old 03-11-2014, 02:49 PM
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Direct LED Fixed back light is usually equivalent to a good CCFL/ LCD performance wise advantage is thinner and lighter panel + cheaper to produce and more energy efficient .


Direct lit LED with local dimming FALD (full array local dimming ) panels come in various grades purpose is contrast enhancement and better black levels .

The most inexpensive FALD panels use fewer LED's and and fewer active LED 's overall than the better ones but can usually increase contrast over fixed LED .

The better and best FALD back panels use more LED's and more active LED zones and are more effective to improve contrast

Local dimming zones can number of can vary from as few as ~ 12 in the least expensive FALD panels to 256 or more in the TOTL FALD panels .

Edge LIT LED offers many of the advantages of LED lighting in general they can be fixed or offer local dimming ,they can have more or less LEDs like direct lit depending on screen size and desired brightness and more or less Active zones but edge lit local dimming is not as accurate as the better FALD panels and they usually have less screen uniformity ..

Both type panels can work well or not depending on design and quality but a TOTL FALD panel with more active zones will usually have the best advantage .

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post #15 of 15 Old 03-12-2014, 07:11 AM
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Man, I really hope my plasma lasts until all this LED/LCD nonsense is over! Come on OLED... prices can't drop fast enough.
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