Here are the measurement charts for the TCL 55P607, created using Portrait Displays' Spectracal CalMAN software. These measurements show how close the display gets to our current HDTV standards. For both gray scale and color, a Delta Error under 10 is considered tolerable, under five is considered good, and under three is considered imperceptible to the human eye. Click on each photo to view the graph in a larger window.
The top charts show the projector's color balance, gamma, and total gray-scale Delta Error, below and after calibration in the Movie mode. Ideally, the red, green, and blue lines will be as close together as possible to reflect a neutral color/white balance. At the default settings, the TCL's color temp in Movie mode is very slightly red but still close to the D65 target (averaging 6,451 Kelvin). The maximum gray-scale Delta Error was 5.3, and the gamma average was 2.41 (we currently use a gamma target of 2.2 for HDTVs and 2.4 for projectors). The bottom charts show where the six color points fall on the Rec 709 triangle, as well as the luminance (brightness) error and total Delta Error for each color point. As you can see, the TCL's color accuracy is excellent, especially for a low-priced TV. The least accurate color was Cyan with a Delta Error of just 1.49.
With out-of-the-box numbers that good, an advanced calibration isn't a necessity. Of course I did one anyway, using the expert picture controls in the Roku mobile app. I did not make any adjustments to the color management system because the color points were so accurate to begin with, but I did use the 11-point white balance controls to dial in a more neutral color/white balance. The white balance controls range from -255 to +255, so I had to make large adjustments (50 to 150 steps); but the results were excellent. In the end, the gray-scale Delta Error fell to just 1.12, with a gamma average of 2.19.
I also measured the TCL 55P607's HDR10 performance in the HDR Dark picture mode. With the TV set to its maximum brightness capabilities, I measured 581 nits in a 10 percent window. Below, the top chart is a snapshot of the 55P607's gray-scale performance with HDR signals; the color temp is just a little cool, or blue, and the TV tracks quite closely along the EOTF target, although the luminance/brightness roll-off is more pronounced than on other TVs I've tested as it approaches its peak brightness. The bottom chart shows the TV's color performance within the DCI P3 color space, showing the accuracy of all six color points at different saturation levels. Again, the TCL's color accuracy is quite good, with the Delta Error hovering between 3.0 and 4.0 for all six colors in the 40 to 100 percent saturation range; only at 20 percent saturation, does it veer it a little higher but still under 6.0. CalMAN's new Color Volume workflow showed that the TCL is capable of 92 percent of the DCI P3 color volume (compared that with Samsung's Q Series at 101 percent and my 2015 LG reference at 84 percent).
One area where the higher-end TVs clearly outperformed the TCL was in motion resolution. The 55P607's "120Hz Clear Motion Index" doesn't do much to improve this TV's native 60Hz refresh rate. I saw a fair amount of blur in my motion-resolution test patterns on the FPD Benchmark Blu-ray disc. The same was true with real-world content. As Ryan and Matt fly over the earth in chapter three of Gravity, the fine details of the earth's surface looked much sharper and more defined through the Samsung and LG TVs. When I paused the scene, the finer details were visible on the TCL, but they turned mushy when the motion started again. I'm not even particularly sensitive to motion blur, yet I could see its effects here.
The 55P607 also failed most of my 480i and 1080i deinterlacing tests. While it passed the 480i deinterlacing tests on my HQV Benchmark DVD, when I popped in my real-world test scenes from the Gladiator and Bourne Identity DVDs, I saw a fair amount of jaggies and moire. With the 1080i tests on the Spears & Munsil Benchmark Blu-ray disc, the TV correctly detected a standard 3:2 film cadence, but it failed to detect the 2:2 video cadence and most of the advanced cadences. I used the Oppo UDP-203 as my disc player for these tests; and, when I switched from the player's Source Direct mode (which lets the TV upconvert signal) to its Auto mode (where the player upconverts the signal), I could easily see that the Oppo produces a sharper, more detailed image with DVDs. In other words, you'll definitely want to let your source devices handle the deinterlacing/upconversion responsibilities if you buy this TV.
The 55P607 is only available in a 55-inch screen size, which may be plenty big for the general shopper but might be too small for a lot of enthusiasts. TCL plans to add screen sizes to the Performance series in next year's line.
Comparison & Competition
VIZIO is the most obvious competitor to TCL at this price point. Most of VIZIO's TVs use a full-array LED backlight with local dimming. VIZIO's 55-inch E55-E2 has a lower asking price of $530; it supports HDR10 but not Dolby Vision, has only 12 dimmable zones, and lacks an internal TV tuner. The step-up M Series adds Dolby Vision and goes to 32 dimmable zones, but it doesn't include a 55-inch screen size. The 65-inch M65-E0 costs $1,199.
Hisense's upcoming R6 Series of direct-lit Roku TVs also sports a UHD resolution and HDR10 support (not Dolby Vision), and the 55-inch 55R6D will cost $549.99. The step-up 55H9D+ lacks the Roku OS but still supports HDR10 and has a true 120Hz refresh rate for $799.99.
Samsung's lowest priced 55-inch UHD TV is the UN55MU6300 edge-lit LED/LCD ($699.99) with HDR10 support and a 60Hz refresh rate. Sony's 55-inch KD-55X720E edge-lit LED/LCD UHD TV with HDR10 support is $799.99, and LG's 55UJ6300 with HDR10 support is $599.99.
When it comes to the 55P607, all I can say to TCL is, "Bravo." The level of performance you get in this $650 TV is pretty remarkable. No, it isn't perfect; sacrifices are made, especially in the areas of motion resolution, peak brightness, bright-room viewing, and image scaling. But in the important areas of black level, contrast, color accuracy, and brightness uniformity, this TV delivers the goods. Add in the fact that it's built around the super-intuitive Roku OS and gives you both Dolby Vision and HDR10, and it becomes a mind-blowingly good deal. Even if you have no intention of upgrading to UHD sources in the near future, the 55P607 is an easy recommendation for anyone shopping in the entry-level TV category.�
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� TCL Officially Debuts New 4K Roku TVs with Dolby Vision at HomeTheaterReview.com.