I'm not a hard core home theater guy. I've had it long enough now to play games, watch streamed TV, watch sports, watch high definition movies, etc and have bee extremely pleased, BUT this TV was a step up for me from a Samsung that was over 10 years old. I can also say my eyes and ears aren't as discerning as others on this board. I know what looks and sounds good to me, but I probably don't even notice subtle differences that others would. I don't want to be the one to talk you into investing in the TCL, only to find out it indeed is not same quality you are used to. Only 2 pieces of advice:
- rtings.com which I mentioned before. That site has both basic level details all the way down to (ISF?) level color spectrum graphs. I didn't even understand half of what I was looking at, but my main use was reading general text reviews and then going down to the head-to-head feature comparisons
- Best Buy. My local store was set up to stream live channels on alternate inputs in addition to the canned demos. Of course the demos will look good as they are engineered as a sales tool, but it was good to be able to see how actual live video appeared. Most of a given size range are all displayed in the same area so you can literally watch side by side.
Good luck with it. I don't have an unlimited budget, so I spent a ton of time researching. Totally understand the stress level!