Q: I am looking for a high-end TV and do not want an OLED model because of burn-in concerns. I know you like the Samsung Q90 television, but my cabinet will accommodate only a 55-inch television and the smallest Q90 has a 65-inch screen.
I am taking a hard look at the 55-inch Sony X900F and the TCL 6-Series. How do you think they stack up against each other? The price of the 6-Series is very appealing, but I am afraid it is too good to be true, and if I do not spend more I will be disappointed.
A: I am very familiar with both televisions. The picture of the Sony X900F is a tiny bit better than the TCL 6-Series, but they both are excellent. That makes the big question whether the difference is worth the higher price, and I don't think it is. The 55-inch Sony X900F sells for $1,150. The 2018 55-inch TCL 6-Series is now available for $499. There's no way that there's a $650 difference in picture quality. Maybe there's a $100 difference — although even that might be stretching it. Given the TCL'S Roku interface that makes it a joy to use, I wouldn't hesitate to opt for the TCL 6-Series.
If you are not in a hurry, TCL will soon have two new Roku TVs available, the 2019 6-Series and the new, high-tech 8-Series. The 2019 6-Series, available in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, will have QLED technology, improved video processing and Dolby Atmos sound, among other improvements. The 8-Series will be available in 65-inch and 75-inch sizes; granted, that won't help the reader with the 55-inch cabinet, but other people might be interested in it.
In addition to incorporating a QLED panel and Dolby Atmos, the 8-Series reportedly is adding mini-LED backlighting that is said to provide brightness, color saturation and deep blacks comparable to OLED televisions. Both models look promising, but I am especially intrigued by the 8-Series and can't wait to see one.
The 2019 6-Series certainly will have a higher street price than the 2018 model. I have not seen it yet, so I cannot say if I think it is worth the premium, but the 2018 6-Series prices are extremely compelling for those looking for high-end picture quality. As I mentioned, the 55-inch is $499, the 65-inch is $729 and the 75-inch is $1,299. Despite the highest price of the three, I think the 75-inch is actually the best deal, because to get high-end picture quality in a screen that size usually starts at $2,500 (tclusa.com).
Home theater hack
Q: Does anyone make home theater receivers with RCA jacks for a tape deck?
A: I do not know of a home theater receiver with a "tape loop" or "tape monitor" that supports both recording and playback, as found on stereo receivers. There are some workarounds, though. If you want to play cassettes, you can use any line level (meaning not marked "phono") inputs on the receiver. If you want to record from the home theater receiver, if it has a Zone 2 output you can connect it to your tape deck inputs to make recordings.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.