The Display: TCL 55P607

In the early days of 4K, we had cautioned consumers against hasty purchases related to the upcoming technology. As a recap and update, consumers looking for a relatively future-proof home theater display component need to have the following checklist in hand:

  • 4Kp60 capabilities with RGB 4:4:4 support
  • HDR support (preferably with Dolby Vision)
  • HDMI 2.0 ports with HDCP 2.2 support
  • Audio Return Channel (ARC) support

Thanks to the rapid adoption of 4K, the technology has come down in price. There are a wide variety of TVs and projectors fulfilling the above criteria. The budget often decides the size class as well as the TV panel technology (OLED vs. LCD/LED). The OLED vs. LCD/LED debate is beyond the scope of this piece, but, suffice to say that if the budget allows, one should go for an OLED television. Based on my particular installation location and budget considerations, I narrowed down my options to a LCD/LED TV in the 46 to 55" class. Available options included the Vizio M-Series, the Sony X800E, the Samsung MU8000 and MU7000 series, the TCL P- and S- series TVs, and the LG 55UH7700. Readers interested in the technical analysis of the above displays can refer to reviews on sites dedicated to analyzing TVs. From a specification viewpoint, the Samsung TVs were ruled out because of their lack of support for Dolby Vision. HDR10+ (the competing open HDR standard with features comparable to Dolby Vision) is yet to take off in a big way with respect to content and hardware support. In the meanwhile, there is a lot of content in OTT services that are encoded with Dolby Vision HDR. UHD Blu-rays with Dolby Vision have also started appearing inthe market. The TCL S- series was also ruled out for its 'fake' HDR nature (covered in the next section).

In the end, we decided upon the TCL 55P607 as an upgrade from the Sony KDL46EX720 in our test setup. The TV has been well-reviewed. For all practical purposes, 3D is dead, and we were not worried about the absence of 3D capabilities in the TCL model.

The TCL 55P607 is also an impressive smart TV platform, thanks to the integrated Roku features. It also enables network control of the unit. As a power user, I am not a big fan of Roku beyond its ease of use for premium OTT streaming services. In our previous evaluations, its local media playback capabilities turned out to be abysmal. In its recent iterations, the excessive advertising push has also been a bit disconcerting. In any case, it essentially comes for free with the 55P607, and for its price, it is a welcome option. Further down in this review, we will also look at how the built-in Roku platform performs for typical modern HTPC usage.

In the course of usage, I found that the TCL 55P607 delivered good value for money. However, it was not without its share of problems. One minor issue was the relatively rare flashing while playing back certain scenes (also brought out in the RTINGS review of the set). It is related to the local dimming algorithm used in the TV.

The other aspect was its high power consumption when the display was switched off. Admittedly, I do not have other comparison points, but, 24.65W in standby mode (just being able to turn it on over the network using the Roku app) seems a bit high. Finally, we found that the firmware originally on the TV when I purchased it (v7.7) had a compatibility issue with certain HDR sources that was later silently resolved in a firmware update (v8.0). That particular issue is covered in detail in the UHD Blu-ray playback section.

Introduction The AVR: Denon X3400H
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  • Reflex - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    You are not answering my question:

    If I play back content that is encoded in DD5.1, 7.1 or Atmos, will your equipment do the proper object placement so that I get a sound effect in the appropriate location?

    It is an important detail, if you cannot do that with the material that is available today, your solution is a solution for an audience of one. If it can do that, I am curious how it accomplishes it with what you are describing as essentially a 3.1 setup and with no Dolby or DTS license.
  • Bullwinkle-J-Moose - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    "what you are describing as essentially a 3.1 setup and with no Dolby or DTS license."
    The original reference design was 3.0
    Moving the Bass speaker to a separate sub cab and calling it a 3.1 system makes zero sense

    No Dolby or DTS License is correct
    I do not support fake standards forged from a Real Standard

    If Dolby and DTS is as good as mine, they should get a License from me

    If you wish to play incompatible standards, be my guest
    As I have said, I do not support Lesser Quality, incompatible or forged Standards

    Dolby Vision is the same in that regard, as I or anyone else can easily create an "Open" Standard that is Visually the Equal of Dolby Vision without need for a Dolby License

    Being locked into a proprietary and lesser Standard is "your" choice / not mine!
  • Reflex - Tuesday, January 2, 2018 - link

    Then your setup is good only for you and content you produce, and for the purposes of the article and the discussion thread essentially meaningless. If you can't play back the content that is being produced accurately then it just isn't relevant to the discussion.

    I'm glad you enjoy your setup, I also enjoy mine.
  • Bullwinkle-J-Moose - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    "Then your setup is good only for you and content you produce"
    You are correct
    I can produce content for anyone, and they can Lock it down with whichever proprietary standard they want for sale to people like you

    My content can be encoded in the standard of the week or whatever "standard" Dolby comes out with next year

    Yes, I wanted a system that can master for anyone!

    and you want the finished result in a proprietary format of your choice

    we are both happy with what we have!
  • Bullwinkle-J-Moose - Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - link

    My Home Audio setups are for creating frontal 2 and 3 channel Audio Imagery

    I am not interested in surround but I could easily add as many surround channels as the next standard can handle

    My focus is on audio production/mixing/mastering/Imaging

    yet they are all I need or want for Video / Home Theater as well

    All I really want is a great Audio Image in front, so I want what I have and I have what I want!

    It's right for ME!

    What works for you is also correct
    There is no wrong standard here
    You can believe in one standard, a hundred standards or none
  • wiyosaya - Friday, January 5, 2018 - link

    I choose C: You are a troll!
  • Aspernari - Tuesday, December 26, 2017 - link

    Everything came out of your pocket, except several thousand dollars worth of stuff you recommended because you didn't have to pay for it, so it had no budgetary cost to you.

    Would you have really bought the $500 receiver instead of a suitable HDMI switch (if you didn't have enough HDMI ports for all your 4k sources) and using ARC or optical out from the TV with your existing receiver?

    Your cost/benefit analysis is broken in this article. You keep trying to defend it, but it's not defensible.
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, December 26, 2017 - link

    The $430 receiver was what I wanted in the build. That is what I was ready to spend my budget on.

    What part of the sentence 'pick and choose from the list' did you not get in the concluding section?

    A HDMI switch will not do the job of the AVR.

    It is not a matter of defensible or not - I have presented what worked and what didn't, even with the sponsored equipment. I have presented alternatives also. I think $349 for the AVR driving a $700 TV is a very reasonable budget - incidentally, the same amounts that I spent back in 2008 with a Toshiba Regza 46" TV and a Onkyo TX-SR606.
  • Aspernari - Tuesday, December 26, 2017 - link

    Regarding not understanding: I understand just fine. Your choices are poorly considered and presented. I'll restate from elsewhere: You recommend readers buy $200 worth of Bluray-related hardware and deal with BSODs and/or pursue beta drivers, among other issues.

    Regarding the receiver: I guess you just wanted a new one, since a budget option would have been a TOSLINK cable or other solution to get audio from the TV to your existing receiver, abandoning the HDMI ports on it, and making use of an HDMI switch if you were short on HDMI ports. Total investment of about $40. Sure, you lose some of the functionality of the obsolete receiver (which you could still use fine on 1080p and lower content), but you also save $349 on sale/$430 retail/$464.40ish after tax by not buying a new receiver. Or getting someone to sponsor you.

    " I have presented what worked and what didn't, even with the sponsored equipment." - You didn't present anything that I noticed that didn't work with the receiver. You state the inverse actually, "None of the issues encountered in the course of the evaluation presented in this piece could be attributed to the Denon AVR X3400H." - Which may well be true. But you also didn't evaluate the hardware you then recommend people go out and buy anyway, so the entire thing is moot. You're pushing hardware you didn't get your hands on, which just makes this all the more silly.

    Imagine publishing a hardware review article, giving something a good "buy" recommendation,but never actually using the product. Oh wait - you just did that.

    It's cool that you're going back and making edits based on the response here, but there's really two articles that should have written, crammed into this one:

    1) A blog post about stuff you bought and the setup you made, where you can squeeze in your promotional consideration for Denon.
    2) The testing you did and the issues you had navigating the current home theater market, focusing on 4k and HDR with HTPCs and high-end settop boxes.

    Are you going to actually review the $1000 receiver, or is this article all that they're getting out of it?
  • edzieba - Tuesday, December 26, 2017 - link

    "I guess you just wanted a new one, since a budget option would have been a TOSLINK cable or other solution to get audio from the TV to your existing receiver, "

    That's... not how things work. At all. Adding an S/PDIF cable is not going to magically allow transport of audio streams that:

    a) Are too high bitrate for S/PDIF (which cannot even carry 5.1 LPCM)
    b) Were developed decades after the S/PDIF standard

    It's as ludicrous and nonsensical a suggestion as installing an IDE cable to allow your SATA motherboard to use m.2 PCIe NVME drives.

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