Q: I am looking for a large TV. I see the Samsung 75-inch Q6 series for about $1,500, while the Samsung TU7000 is around $850. That big of a price difference makes me wonder if I will note that much difference between them. I did check the TCL TVs, but am concerned about the "soap opera effect."
A: For readers unfamiliar with the "soap opera effect," it is a picture defect caused by processing that is intended to smooth out the motion in camera pans. Whether it helps is debatable, and there are horrible side effects, such as blurred details and unnatural motion. (It was labeled the "soap opera effect" by critics who said it reminded them of early TV soap operas that were shot and edited on the fly to meet daily deadlines.)
When I see TVs in stores, it usually is obvious which ones have the motion processing turned on because to my eyes, it makes humans look like CGI characters when they move across the screen. Most every manufacturer includes this feature in their televisions, but it's called by different names. For example, Samsung calls it "Auto Motion Plus," and TCL uses "Action Smoothing."
Having this feature makes for good ad copy, but in the real world, using it is a disaster. Fortunately, it can — and should — be turned off. Go to your TV's picture settings menu and find the motion processing feature. Turn it all the way off for each input (most TVs let you use different picture settings for each input, including the antenna), and you will be rewarded with a more natural picture.
Now we can discuss your TV choices. Samsung and TCL are my two favorite brands. For top-of-the-line performance, Samsung is hard to beat. I have a 75-inch Samsung Q90, and it is my favorite television ever. The Q6 is from Samsung's QLED series, a few steps down from my Q90, and with a good signal source it will look noticeably better than the TU7000. If you love TV, it is worth the investment. I would not hesitate to buy one in a 75-inch size. (samsung.com)
I would not rule out TCL now that you know you can eliminate the soap opera effect. Both the TCL 5-Series and 6-Series received big upgrades for 2020, the new 5-Series line being especially noteworthy. It includes both QLED technology and dimming zones (which provide better contrast), features that previously were considered the exclusive domain of high-end sets. If you would have told me last year that in 2020 you could get a $449 55-inch TV with QLED, dimming and a truly fantastic picture, I would not have believed you. The 65-inch 2020 TCL 5-Series is $629, and all TCL TVs offer built-in Roku, the leading streaming platform.
The 5-Series maxes out at 65 inches so you must go to the 6-Series to get a top quality 75-inch TCL. The 2020 6-Series uses QLED and MiniLED backlighting for $1,399. It belongs on your shopping list, too. (tclusa.com)
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.