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on December 4, 2013
After returned a defective-on-arrival Seiki 39" 4K TV, I turned to TCL, hoping to have a better luck.

After unboxing and routing testing under 1080p, I found this TV to be superior than Seiki on the following aspects:
1. Much nicer looking frame, perfectly flat, and less glares;
2. Better 2K->4K up-conversion picture quality;
3. No dead pixels, no weak pixels, zero!

But things turn up-side-down when I started 4K testing. When I switched to the advertised native resolution (3840x2160), all I got is a cropped, blurry image! It looks like the original 4K input has been scaled down to 2K in 4:3 aspect, and then scaled back to 4K.

I tried to adjust every possible options in the menu (including every options in the service mode menu), none helped. I also tried all 4 HDMI input, none helped. I tried 4K input from three different computers (all worked with my previously returned Seiki TV), all show the same phenomenon (blurry image, cropped at top and bottom).

It seems that this TV is not capable to properly displaying 4K input signal at all!

Since I am quite satisfied with all other aspect of this TV, I will try to contact TCL support first to see if there is a fix to this problem. But if this issue could not be resolved, I would have no choice but return it to Amazon again :( -- 4K TV couldn't display 4K input? What a joke...

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Took a picture of the TV showing at 4K (3840x2160) [...]
The down-scaling of the input is very obvious -- you can hardly recognize the text on the screen!

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Update: the contact page of TCL USA webite ([...] is non-functional. I typed up my issue and click "submit", and it shows "loading..." forever. Never received email confirmation that my issue was received.

Kinda have a bad feeling about this... I will try email USsupport@tcl.com directly. If I don't hear anything back in a week, I will have not choice but return it...

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Final update: 4 days have passed, and got nothing from TCL support. I decided to gave up waiting and return it, to avoid the Christmas shipping craze. Had the 4K input actually work, this TV would have gotten a 5-star from me... :(
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3333 comments|223 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 8, 2013
***I added 5 pictures with notes to this review & updated the firmware.***
As with all early adopters, I expect technology to improve as the latest gadget matures. That will be the case with this 50 inch TCL 4K TV. The current limitations of HDMI 1.4 (3840×2160 at 24 Hz/25 Hz/30 Hz) means that this is not going to be the fastest display next year (2014). But at the astounding $750 price point for a 50 inch 4K TV in 2013, it's a bargain.

Also, since true 4K source material is almost nonexistent except for a few (rather lame) 4K YouTube and Vimeo videos, you are left with so-so up converted 1080p content. All of the so-called "4K BluRay discs" are rubbish (in 2013) so do not waste your money. They are regular 1080p discs with clever marketing!

My setup is a Sony STR-DN1040 receiver with 4K HDMI 1.4 inputs and various sources, the primary being a Generation 3 Apple TV. BluRay 1080p is provided by an unlocked Pioneer BDP-330 and Playstation 3. Additional 1080p content is via a modified Linux-based Generation 1 Apple TV with a Crystal HD card.

Also connected via the Sony amp is a Apple Macbook Air and Apple Mac Mini (both 2011 models). Their max output via Thunderbolt is 1920x1080 to this TV; I have not been able to increase the resolution beyond that yet but I have SwitchResX so I will experiment further to see what I can get. <edit> The reason I could not get resolutions above 1920x1080p is I needed Accell B086B-008B UltraAV Mini DisplayPort 1.1 to HDMI 1.4 Active Adapter - AMD Eyefinity Certified (Blister Package) so I ordered it from Amazon and I will experiment some more and report back.

The vast majority of my content is via iTunes streaming, so it is neither videophile or audiophile quality by any means. However, compared to the TCL 40inch 1080p LCD LED TV I also have, it is light years better!

Picture quality is absolutely fantastic but since I do not use the TV audio, I cannot comment on whether audio is any good or not. Also, it has no "Smart TV" apps or any other useless features, nor does it have network connectivity. These are very good things, in my opinion, as they distract from the point of any TV; a good display for your content. I experienced zero lag, ghosting or smearing even with fast-moving action films like "The Avengers", so I'm not sure what others are complaining about.

To get the best from this TV does require quite a bit of fiddling with the picture controls to get it to look its best, but the end result is well worth it. I used THX Tune-Up (iPad software) and Disney's WOW (BluRay calibration disc) to make picture adjustments. My settings are in the Comments section below.

Overall, I am very pleased with this TV. It gives me a taste of 4K and I highly recommend it for those, like me, that cannot wait for both HDMI 2.0 next year as well as true 4K content via BluRay.

This is a "living" review. If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them to the best of my ability in the Comments (below).
***UPDATE: I updated the firmware to V8-MS39N02-LF1V024 dated Feb 12 2014. The default settings are much, much brighter and more vibrant than the old firmware.***
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2828 comments|87 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 5, 2013
For those having "ghosting" issues or lip sync problems (input lag) make sure you change tv ADVANCED settings. These will be located under menu>picture>advanced settings.

Cable TV via HDMI - Film Mode OFF, MEMC Mode OFF
If you are still having the issues, turn Game Mode ON, as a last resort at a slight expense to picture quality. Turning MEMC off should take care of it.

Blue-Ray - MEMC OFF
Film mode helps here movies are filmed at 1080p/24, this mode sets your tv at that setting (Don't worry it will still look great, just watched Star Trek Into Darkness...Awesome. Game Mode ON again if all else fails.

PS3/most likely xbox 360 (dont have) - MEMC OFF Film Mode OFF
Turn Game Mode ON

Really enjoying this TV after some playing around with settings.

Current settings...
Brightness 50
Contrast 40
Saturation 50
Sharpness 20
Tint 50
Color Mode Warm
Back light 50
Dynamic backlight OFF
1010 comments|106 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 14, 2014
---UPDATE---

Just got off the phone with TCL customer service. I was curious about the firmware update, even though I am not experiencing problems, so I tried to visit their website (tclusa.com), which was all jacked up. Apparently they are using tclusa.tv now, in case anyone else is confused about that. Also, he could not confirm whether or not this TV will support HDMI 2.0 in the future via another firmware update. This is exactly the same situation as with Seiki. TCL customer service seems alright though... I was never put on hold and got a real person within a minute of calling!

---END OF UPDATE---

I'm not going to review every feature of this TV. Other people have written great reviews with some great tips. What I want to do is help you decide which which inexpensive 4K TV to go with - TCL or Seiki. Now, I have two other TCL LED TVs which have never given me any issues, but I decided to buy the Seiki 50" 4K TV when it went down in price around black Friday. I got one of the used Amazon warehouse deals, so I expected an imperfect TV. Turns out, the corner was broken, the stand was missing screws, and the screen had a small line of dead pixels, so I ended up returning it. However, I did put it through some tests before returning, and I found that it had great image quality after messing with some settings, and the resolution and upscaling looked great. If it hadn't been broken I certainly would have kept it.

After returning the Seiki, I decided to go with this TCL (one of the warehouse deals again) and I do not regret it one bit. This TV seems to be as good or better in nearly every aspect.

DESIGN:
- The stand feels much more sturdy.
- The front bottom bezel is thinner and more stylish.
- The bezel all the way around is slightly thinner.
- I did not measure but it seems like the TV is marginally thinner overall.
- The LED indicator on the TV is smaller and less obtrusive, but still looks cool.
- Otherwise I'd call it a wash between the two models.

PERFORMANCE:
- The audio from the headphone port sounds much deeper and better for some reason. I tried tweaking the Seiki's EQ and could not get good sound out of the headphone port, but this TCL sounds great with flat EQ. NOTE: I do not review built-in TV speakers, because I never use them, and I don't think anyone should. First thing I do when getting a TV is plug in my sound system and turn off the built-in speakers, because they are always terrible.
- The user interface on the TCL is significantly better in my opinion.
- It has one more HDMI port (4 rather than 3).
- The image quality looks about the same to me after some tweaking (color rendering, motion blur, backlight, etc.). Other reviewers have good tips about which "features" to turn off for better quality. Definitely turn off the energy star backlight thing, that way the backlight will not fluctuate up and down in a dark room. I have not noticed any picture issues as serious as some of the other reviewers have. Maybe just bad quality control and I happened to get a good one?
- Everything else is about as good as the Seiki.

So, if they are roughly the same price, I'd definitely go with the TCL over the Seiki; though if you find a good deal on the Seiki, it's a great TV as well. Both are really awesome to use with true 4K sources (i.e. my computer) and have pretty good upscaling from 1080p sources (my 3rd generation Apple TV looks amazing on both). The clarity, detail, and depth of the image is just unreal. True 4K on a small enough screen (such that you can't see any pixelation) doesn't even require 3D to look realistically deep. I just can't wait for more 4K content and distribution to come out.

I'd recommend this TCL over the Seiki, but either way you go, make sure you put the TV through its paces before the return window on Amazon closes. TCL has OK customer service, and Seiki's is pretty bad from what I hear, but Amazon customer service is second to none, and they will without a doubt get you taken care of if you have problems.
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on June 15, 2014
Before I purchased this tv, I read all the reviews, including the really poor ones. Let me start off by saying that I am not an expert, but a regular tv watcher. This set met my basic requirements. I did not need a smart tv because I have apple tv. I have no interest in 3D and the new curved tvs look nice but are way too expensive. My wife is Chinese and has had experience with TCL before. She also spoke to the main office in China before we purchased the set. Once it arrived, it was easy to attaché the stand and attach to my cable box. I read all the online instructions about updating the firmware and followed them. The website, tclusa.tv is actually well written and easy to use. Once I started watching the tv, after initial setup, I was amazed. It is a great tv. The picture and color are great and there are no ghost problems. I have watched action movies as well as streamed vidios and all work well. I am really pleased with this purchase and feel that I got a great deal.
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on October 4, 2014
I just got this for $440 through Amazon and am using it as a display for my Home Theater PC.
It does need some tweaking out of the box (like most TV's do anyway). After adjusting though, its been amazing.
I rewatched the first episode of Season two of House of Cards. Stunning. You could see the make up caked on, every leaf on the trees in the background. The term moving pictures always felt off ro me because during my entire media consuming life, the "pictures" or stills of movies were such low quality compared to actual pictures. When every still of a movie is the resolution of the best quality photo an iphone6+ can take, and they throw 24 a second at you, the result is dramatic.
Playing NBA 2K14 at 4k is clearer than watching an NBA game. Viewing vacation pictures shows what you're missing when you can only see 2 megapixels instead of 8. I just can't believe the difference. It's like going from 480p to 1080p all over again.

I don't know about upscaling and how nicely this plays with cable boxes since I custom built my Home Theater PC with Windows 7 and just output directly to it. If you don't care about video games at 30hz instead of 60 hz or more, this is your best bang for the buck HTPC monitor.

EDIT: I just downloaded and flashed the new firmware. Completely worth it. I did a factory reset and didn't even have to change settings after. I highly recommend everyone install the latest drivers and then do a factory reset on the TV.
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on September 2, 2014
No TV IS PERFECT..... SEIKI has one horrible feature that you can't turn off.... Dynamic backlight. Basically when the tv is constantly changing the backlight depending on what you're watching. It's a horrible feature and the TCL has it too but you can turn it off! I can't tell you how annoying it is to see the backlight constantly getting brighter and darker. I'm so happy the TCL can turn this off. THIS ALONE is why you want to purchase the TCL. I know it's more money, it's worth it.

Now, I got the TCL and the software on it was Sep 2013. It had ghosting and delays with gaming with my xbox one. Color was bad too. I downloaded the update from their website, tclusa.com, and ghosting and delays are completely gone and color is great. Just make sure to go to the menu and turn on gaming mode. Loving this TCL TV. It just needs you to update it and tweak a few things to make it great.

Game mode does not make movies look good though. So you have to manually change it if you're using an xbox one and watching netflix or gaming. I know it sounds annoying. Believe me, it's much better than the SEIKI and not being able to turn off the dynamic backlight. Thank goodness you can turn it off the TCL.

I also plugged in my macbook pro and the 4k display is incredible. I won't be using it as a monitor.

Best of luck everyone deciding which TV to get. I promise the SEIKI is a good TV but then the dynamic backlight makes it unwatchable for movies. If you are using it as your monitor and have a constant level of brightness, you should be fine.
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on April 28, 2014
I am very pleased with this TV. The.t picture quality can be adjusted to suite your taste.It
has excellent sound qualitywithout even having to use a sound bar. This product ships quick from Amozon.I am quite pleased with the TCI line.This is my second TCL tv.
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on November 18, 2013
Overall Great TV; I'm so glad I bought this while it was up.

It came out of the box with some funky settings but after getting everything adjusted just right the picture is absolutely crisp and beautiful. If these come back up again I might buy another for my bedroom.
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on February 28, 2014
There is definitely a few shortcomings to early adoption, and especially early adoption of 4k- especially before you can run over 30Hz. I can say the picture is great when adjusted to the settings you can find people listing in the reviews here on Amazon. Mind blowing improvement over standard.

I can't get 4k resolutions off my MSI GT70 laptop with a GTX 770 yet. Haven't tried to hard, but paired with a ROKU this TV is more than fine for casual livingroom use. Decent build quality and a good picture at a good price with some future proofing with 4k res. I can see still enjoying this in a few more years when 4k devices and content become available, and if the tech shifts wildly, we didnt break the bank, and can buy something else for main watching and be MORE than happy with it as a 2nd TV.
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