I’ve spent the last several days with the 65R617 to form an opinion. Here are my thoughts:
Amazon purchase & delivery – I ordered Thursday April 26 before 11am central and was given a May 1 delivery date – I have Prime, but did not pay extra for express delivery. By Sunday April 29, FedEx tracking estimated a Friday May 4 delivery date. Amazon did not update its delivery estimated date until the original May 1 delivery date had expired. I called Amazon, they offered 3 months free Prime. I couldn’t test the unit until Friday May 4 anyway, so I wasn’t gonna push – whatever, I took it. FedEx delivered on Friday May 4. Two FedEx employees, one that I’m on a first-name basis with, carefully delivered and gently set it just inside past my front door. I encourage you to get to know your FedEx and UPS drivers if you can (at least their names) as a bit of courtesy and manners can pay off with these sort of things. I’ve received personal texts from this particular FedEx driver stating that he placed an expensive delivery on my back patio hidden under the BBQ grill cover because he feared it may rain later that day, though your mileage may vary.
I received the plain brown box with red “TCL” logo on the upper corner. There was a slight tear on the top edge of the box between the white binding straps, about an inch wide and four inches long - not very big - but otherwise, the box was in great shape.
The screen was very well protected in the box, complete with both a 2-inch thick foam spacer and a 1-inch thick cardboard shield placed between this foam spacer and the inside wall of the box. The sides and rear seemed adequately protected, but nothing fancy. The unit had no visible signs of damage.
Powering on for the first time, I noticed zero screen defects or abnormalities – no screen cracks, or obvious banding or dead pixels. I connected to wifi and the unit began performing a system update. Within minutes, I was logging into and streaming Netflix. I let the unit run throughout the night to let it “break in” before a more complete test on Saturday.
Saturday, I went through a series of tests, including screenshots of solid colors (gray, black, white, blue, red, green, etc,), still, no dead pixels. There is, however, some visibility to the LED backlights, or bleed through. This happens on certain shades of blue and is faintly visible on a bright white test screen. Playing source material, this effect was not noticeable. If I tried my hardest to find it, I could find it – particularly on scenes with lots of blue sky. To quantify, if playing a TV show or movie, out of about 100 different scenes, I could see this issue maybe 1 time – IF I was trying to find it. It is easier to find it using test patterns and solid test screens, but I’m not watching test screens more than a small handful of times during the life of a video display.
Blooming is visible, under certain conditions, such a black screen with a “status” icon in the middle, rarely visible watching source material. Most visible watching credits with a black back ground and white lettering at the end of a movie. It’s minor. Slight vignetteing in the corners, mostly noticed with a pure white screen, less so with other shades and colors.
I’m still testing for the optimum settings for motion, this seems to differ with source material and am just trying to find a happy medium. It handles motion, free of judder, as well as anything in its price range and beyond that I’m familiar with and handles it better than the 10-year old top-of-the-line-at-the-time Samsung it replaced.
Colors are beautiful. Black levels and shadow detail are excellent – both unreal at this price point. Batman Dark Knight Rises on UHD HDR is a real treat on this video display.
Though I initially connected to the internet via wifi, I now have it connected to a hard line. I have experienced no issues with streaming or app navigation or app pixilation as described by others – and I’m lucky to get 8 Mbps from my ISP. Perhaps the initial update performed after I connected to wifi did something, who knows, anyway, I am currently running software version 8.0.2 – build 4133-30
All HDMI ports worked - the picture settings are unique to each port as is common. I am using HDMI 3 for ARC. This is the first video display I’ve owned where I use the display’s onboard apps for streaming. I prefer to send my source to my Yamaha 1060 AV receiver, then have the audio sent from my AV receiver to BOTH my video display speakers via HDMI AND 5.1 audio system through the AV receiver’s amp. This way, my wife, who says she doesn’t want “all that” sound (you guys know what I’m facing) and just wants to play sound out of the small video display speakers and continue to use the DirecTV remote to change channels and turn volume up/down on the same DirecTV remote. Well, I DO want “all that” sound, and having the option of controlling the AV receiver separate from the video display’s speaker volume is important to me. ARC setup messes this up, as you EITHER use the video display speakers OR the AV receiver, but not both. ARC activation completely disables the built-in display speakers. The optical output ONLY works if ARC is enabled (as a result, the display speakers are disabled). I wish I could just send an audio signal from the display to the AV receiver and control that volume only with the AV receiver remote, while the display’s remote continues to change the display speakers’ volume. The TCL, and probably every other ARC-capable display won’t let me do that without changing the ARC and CEC settings on the TCL – unless you guys have any other options I’m overlooking. I may end up purchasing an external Roku just for the benefit of being able to better manipulate the audio to meet mine and my wife’s needs. Otherwise, I’m very happy with the performance of the onboard apps and streaming in general.
Does this display show test patterns as good as a $2500 65” OLED– no. Does it show source material as well as a $2500 65” OLED – not quite. But for $1000, it gets REALLY close on the things that matter most, plus screen burn-in is not an issue to worry about. I say it performs as well as, and in many areas better than, 65” LCD displays costing $1500 and up. If you are expecting $2000 performance, then buy a $2000 display. But I contend that for $1000 nothing comes close right now. Pocket that extra money, save for the next great technology years down the road with 8K and an ever-expanding HDMI bandwidth and capability, and sit back, take a deep breath, RELAX, enjoy the show.
I may be a lucky one with a great panel, the problems others are sharing is concerning and something to consider.
- Delayed shipping, box in good shape
- No unit damage, no dead pixels, no vertical banding
- Motion handling is good, comparable to slightly more expensive units, but not to current top-of-the-line units.
- Minor blooming, hardly visible. Slightly visible LED backlighting bleed through under certain, but limited conditions. Vignetting present on very bright test patterns.
- Roku performs well, both hardline connection and wifi work fine. I'm running software version 8.0.2 - build 4133-30
- All HDMI ports functioned and the video looked the same, save for unique configuration settings.
- ARC/CEC completely disables built-in display speakers. Optical out and audio over HDMI only work if ARC/CEC is enabled and built-in speakers disabled.
- TEST material looks good, though some issues visible with a discerning eye – LED bleed through, minor blooming in certain conditions, vinetting.
- SOURCE material looks great. Excellent colors, black levels, shadow details, etc. Just relax and enjoy.