TCL 49s405 mini-review: A budget 48.5" 4k TV with great color, but unsuitable as PC monitor

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Kdawg, Oct 20, 2017.

  1. Kdawg

    Kdawg Gawd

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    I wanted to see if I could have the real estate of 4x 24" monitors within a cheap budget.

    This TV has been on sale for $342 or less. So I got one to play with for a few weeks before I have to return it to the store.

    Even though this TCL supports 4k 60hz chroma 4:4:4 on all 3 hdmi ports, it sucks ass as a PC monitor, because it has a wonky color rendering algorithm that destroys the image quality from normal PC viewing distance.
    Specifically, it makes everything noisy and pixelated, like a printed magazine under a magnifying glass.
    You have to sit at least 5 feet away for the eyes to be unable to resolve the pixelation.

    It is sad because the TV has the brightness of a quality 300-350 nit monitor, and color is great too, similar to the Samsung MU6300. And it has very low input lag.
    TCL almost had a winner for PC users.
    Other cheap chroma-444-capable 50" TV's don't have the noisy image problem, but they have higher input lag, among other issues.

    In addition to the image noise, there is very noticeable FRC dithering of the 8-bit panel, as tested from www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/black.php. So when you open Adobe software with a gray background, you see a pixelated gray and shimmering.


    From several feet away, the 4K content looks normal compared to a Samsung of the same class---

    8WUJut5.jpg


    Qfy9ASj.jpg


    But when you sit at your desk, it's a different story.

    The TCL is pixelated to shit because of its color algorithm.
    the Samsung is clean, so you can see the hair on the sloth without artifacts.

    mhqVVXx.jpg

    [​IMG]

    BGR subpixels, but colored text looks like ass----

    Ubf8eKm.jpg


    Opening up the TV reveals a panel made by CSOT, which is a subsidiary of TCL.

    I am perplexed why TCL designed their firmware to render color this way.

    SYRIFxy.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
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  2. elvn

    elvn 2[H]4U

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    4 month (does that qualify as necro-ing thread?) late reply.

    This is in regard to the 2017 version: TCL S Series 4k 2017 S405


    I checked this TV's review on RTings.com and they didn't outline any of those problems and gave the display high ratings for PC usage.
    https://www.rtings.com/tv/reviews/tcl/s-series-4k-2017-s405
    DCI P3 xy
    : 81.43 %: 87.72 %
    Narrow color gamut, only good enough for SDR content.

    Native Contrast: 4171 : 1

    I did see a review on amazon.com where the reviewer said he was getting odd issues until he turned off "noise reduction".
    As I am interested in this tv as a desktop/app work space it would be interesting to find out. It's $300 now at target for a 43" which size-wise is usable at a desk set back only slightly. A 40.3" 4k would be the same 108.8 ppi as a 27" 2560x1440. This one would be around 102.5.

    I really don't want to spend much more than that for a desktop work-space monitor and the better models ramp up in price quickly. I'd prefer VA for the contrast ratio as well since I watch a lot of youtube streams and twitch when not using it for apps and browsers. Many of the suggested screens are IPS.

    I have bigger fish to fry in a hdr gaming monitor by the end of the year so $300+tax seemed like a good pick with the rtings review backing it up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  3. elvn

    elvn 2[H]4U

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    On a second read through of the OP's post, I'm wondering if this is some sort of pentile display. I see a lot of glowing reviews of it being used as a pc monitor though <shrug>. Maybe it's a matter of distance. Even at a desk I'd have it 2.5 - 3'+ away I think.

    edit.: pixel shape looks fine from rtings.com

    http://i.rtings.com/images/reviews/tv/tcl/s405/s405-pixels-large.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  4. Sung

    Sung n00bie

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    Now five months later...I went through this exact issue. Bought the 49.5" and it absolutely has the crosshatching effect. It's all still legible, but there's absolutely something wrong. So I got the 43" and voila, no crosshatching. The 43" is the one to get if you want to turn a TCL into a 4K monitor. Don't waste your time with the 49.5.
     
  5. Kdawg

    Kdawg Gawd

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    RTings reviewed the 43", which does not have this problem.

    When looking at RTings reviews, always look at what size they reviewed. Different sizes of the same model could have different results.

    The 43" and 65" are the only s405's without the crosshatching.

    49" and 55" S405's don't use RGBW. They just dim the BGR subpixels in a nasty way.
     
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  6. Sung

    Sung n00bie

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    Guess what -- turns out there are different versions of the 49.5". The one that had the crosshatching issue was an Amazon one that came in a brown box. The one I got from Target was a retail white box and it does not have the crosshatching issue. It has the exact same picture as the 43". So buyer beware!
     
  7. Kdawg

    Kdawg Gawd

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    interesting. i bought this crosshatching 49 tester from target last year.

    I wonder if they changed the firmware, or went with a different panel supplier. I don't know of many 48.5" panel suppliers.

    The only other 49" TV's on the market are IPS panels.

    Maybe you got an IPS panel?
    Test out the viewing angle for color shift.
     
  8. Sung

    Sung n00bie

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    I just ran this on my 43: http://lcdtech.info/en/tests/color-shift.htm

    Sure enough, the color shift is very obvious.

    Just ran it on my 49. This is my living room tv connected to an HTPC. The color shift exists here, too, but to a lesser degree. So I don't think this is an IPS, but it does seem to be higher quality than the 43.
     
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