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TCL 6 Series/R617 2018
TV REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
8.0
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio M Series Quantum 2019
8.0
Movies
7.7
TV Shows
7.6
Sports
8.6
Video Games
8.1
HDR Movies
8.4
HDR Gaming
8.3
PC Monitor
Type : LED
Sub-Type
:
VA
Resolution : 4k

The TCL 6 Series (R617/R615) is a very good 4k TV for a wide range of usages. It has good dark scene performance due to the full-array local dimming and high native contrast so blacks appear deep even in a dark room. It is also great for HDR, as it has a great brightness. Although it can produce a wider color gamut than Rec. 709, it isn't as wide as other great HDR TVs. It also has an excellent low input lag for gamers, and unlike last year's TCL P607 it can flicker the backlight to clear up fast motion and interpolate low frame rate content.

The TCL 6 Series is also known as the R615 or R617 depending on the manufacturer variant.

Pros
  • Very bright in HDR and SDR
  • Excellent low input lag for gaming
  • Good local dimming and native contrast produce deep blacks
Cons
  • Picture quality degrades at an angle
  • Uniformity could be better

Test Results
Design 7.0
Picture Quality 8.0
Motion 7.9
Inputs 9.2
Sound Quality 5.8
Smart Features 7.7
Update 2/28/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.
Update 1/9/2019: We retested the DTS passthrough with the new firmware and now it works properly. The corresponding review section has been updated.
Update 1/7/2019: Added a note about the 75R615.

Check Price

7.0

Design

Curved : No

The design of the TCL 6 Series is decent, similar to most TCL TVs we have tested. The stand is wide but very stable, and the TV feels slightly bulky due to the square design of the TV's bezel. It will not stand out as a premium TV but is quite functional.

Stand

Like most TCLs, the R617 has a stand that is nearly the full width of the TV. You will need a very wide table to put it on. It is made from metal and feels strong and sturdy. This change in material is nice from the plastic feel of older TCL models.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 47.8" x 10.6"

The legs can also be reversed, in which case the stand measures 28.5" x 10.6".

Back
Wall Mount : VESA 200x200

The rear of the TV is simple. The top half is metallic and the body is plastic.

There is no cable management, so it can look a bit messy for those who enjoy clean setups with hidden cables.

Borders
Borders : 0.47" (1.2 cm)

The borders of the TCL 6 Series look decent. They are metallic and have the same finish as the stand legs.

Thickness
Max Thickness : 2.95" (7.5 cm)

The TCL 6 Series is comprised of two sections: the electronics compartment and the panel section which is square and has a bulky feel to it. Even though the overall thickness is not bad, it will stick out a little if wall mounted

Temperature
Maximum Temperature
:
95 °F (35 °C)
Average Temperature
:
84 °F (29 °C)

The TCL 6 Series stays quite cool. In fact, it scored one of the lowest average temperatures of the TVs we tested in 2017-8.

It has two big vents, one on the bottom and one in the back allowing the temperature on the screen to be fairly uniform.

7.0 Build Quality

The build quality of the TCL 6 Series feels decent. There are no loose panels or gaps, and the TV seems to have a solid construction.

We have received many reports of varying gray uniformity issues between units, which may be indicative of the build quality or quality control.

8.0

Picture Quality

The TCL 6 Series has very good picture quality. The native contrast is excellent, and it has a decent local dimming feature that can further boost the black levels. While blacks aren't as deep as the P607, this is still a great TV for dark room viewing. The TV is much brighter than last year's P607, this is especially noticeable in HDR. Gray uniformity is decent, but we have received reports from many people with much worse uniformity. Like the P607, the viewing angle is bad. Out of the box, colors have good accuracy, and the calibration is easy and fast with the TCL app. Decent color volume, but deep dark colors aren't displayed very well.

8.9 Contrast
Native Contrast
:
5182 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
:
6052 : 1

The TV has amazing contrast. It matches many of the high end TVs we have tested. Although it does not reach the contrast levels of the TCL P607/605 models it certainly follows their legacy of excellent contrast.

The contrast increases with local dimming since the full array panel manages to darken the blacks without sacrificing much brightness. This is great for dark room performance.

6.0 Local Dimming
Local Dimming
:
Yes
Backlight
:
Full-Array

The local dimming on the TCL R615/617 series is decent, and it can produce deeper dark scenes which is very noticeable especially when viewed in a dark room.

On the other hand, there is some obvious clouding around the moving objects. This is because of the inherent limitations of FALD technology and should not worry most people.

Update: The text has been updated to better explain why we see some clouding.

8.9 SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
701 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
:
881 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
:
984 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
:
1161 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
:
876 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
:
676 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
:
874 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
:
979 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
:
1155 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
:
874 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
:
675 cd/m²
SDR ABL
:
0.027

Great SDR peak brightness, it performs well in a bright room. The TV boosts the bright sections of the screen when other areas are dimmer. This is shown by how the smaller window tests are brighter than the larger ones.

This is an improvement from last year's TCL P605/607 and it is much better than the brightness of competing TVs like the Samsung NU7100 and Vizio M Series 2017.

8.7 HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
840 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
:
908 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
:
1009 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
:
1173 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
:
879 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
:
674 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
:
903 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
:
1006 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
:
1165 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
:
871 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
:
673 cd/m²
HDR ABL
:
0.027

The TCL R617/615 has great HDR peak brightness. Bright highlights in HDR content will be shown fairly bright, very close to the level of 1000-4000 cd/m² they're intended to be.

Overall the HDR brightness is much better than last year's TCL P605/607 which is great.

6.3 Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
:
4.670 %
50% DSE
:
0.229 %
5% Std. Dev.
:
1.797 %
5% DSE
:
0.127 %

The gray uniformity of our TCL 55R617 is decent. Especially in the 50% image, clouding is present and there is some dirty screen effect, this is especially noticeable when there is a panning shot during sports.

Uniformity is better in the 5% image although the uniformity remains average. These are similar results to previous TCL models, but lower than the score of the Vizio M Series 2017 or the Sony X720E.

We have received many reports of gray uniformity issues with the TCL 6 Series. The results of our TV seem typical of this model, but many people have received TVs with worse uniformity. Gray uniformity results will vary from unit to unit.

5.1 Viewing Angle
Color Washout
:
21 °
Color Shift
:
32 °
Brightness Loss
:
29 °
Black Level Raise
:
15 °
Gamma Shift
:
14 °

The viewing angle is poor. Blacks and colors shift rapidly as you move away from the front, and the brightness drops quickly as the angle increases a few degrees.

As with most TCLs we have reviewed it is most suitable for a narrow viewing environment.

The Sony X720E is a better choice for a wide viewing angle.

7.8 Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
:
1.006 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
:
0.746 %

The black uniformity of the TCL 6 Series is good. Although there is some clouding in the native black uniformity, the performance improves when local dimming is enabled. This reduces clouding only around the test cross.

7.5 Reflections
Screen Finish
:
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
:
5.7 %
Indirect Reflections
:
0.7 %

The TCL 6 Series has a semi-gloss finish that works well in diffusing reflections across the screen. However, when viewed in a bright room the reflections may be somewhat distracting especially if the source is facing the TV.

7.7 Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
:
3.15
Color dE
:
2.33
Gamma
:
2.21
Color Temperature
:
5979 K
Picture Mode
:
Movie
Color Temp Setting
:
Warm
Gamma Setting
:
2.2

Out of the box, the TCL 55R617 has good color accuracy. The color temperature is quite warm, so everything it slightly red/yellow. Gamma already follows our target well. White balance and color dE are low enough that most people won't notice much of a difference.

9.7 Post Calibration
White Balance dE
:
0.31
Color dE
:
0.62
Gamma
:
2.20
Color Temperature
:
6484 K
White Balance Calibration
:
11 point
Color Calibration
:
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
:
No

The 617/615 has to calibrated with the TCL app. Calibration is very easy to do and both the white balance and the CMS respond very well to calibration. The blue dE was not as easy to correct, but remains accurate.

Post calibration, the TV is one of the most accurate TVs on the market. Gamma follows the target curve perfectly, and white balance and color dE are nearly perfect. The overall color temperature is a bit warm still, but very close to the target 6500K.

See our recommended settings here.

8.0 480p Input

Lower resolution 480p content looks good and is displayed without any obvious issues.

8.0 720p Input

720p content is displayed well, without any issues.

9.0 1080p Input

1080p content like Blu-rays and non 4k games looks almost as good as native 4k.

9.5 4k Input

There are some artifacts visible with 4k content due to the sub-pixel dimming. This performs similarly to the P607 (see here), but shouldn't be an issue for most people and is mostly noticeable when used as a PC monitor.

This type of dithering is uncommon, and is only seen on some TCL TVs, including the S517 and R617. Most people won't notice it much, but occasionally it causes artifacts when it interferes with spatial dithering in games such as this green or purple shadow. (Note: the images are from the S517, but we expect them to be the same on the 6 Series.)

Update 29/05/2018: We have received a report that the 49" S515/S517 has similar crosshatching to the S405, as seen here and we expect this to be the same in the R615/R617. This will bother some people especially when used as a PC Monitor.

7.8 Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
:
Yes
DCI P3 xy
:
88.57 %
DCI P3 uv
:
90.93 %
Rec 2020 xy
:
64.25 %
Rec 2020 uv
:
67.39 %

The TCL 6 Series has a good color gamut, but slightly worse than last year's P607. It supports a wide color gamut, but it isn't as wide as other HDR TVs. HDR will look good, but bright outdoor scenes will lack some detail due to the TV's limited green reproduction.

Note that for this test, a PC was used as a pattern generator. Like many other TCL TVs, the TV detects the PC from the AVI infoframe and automatically switches to a PC mode which behaves a little bit differently. Using a HDFury Integral to mask the AVI infoframe results in a color gamut in the same ballpark, but slightly lower at around 65.8% Rec. 2020 uv.

The TV's Movie EOTF curve follows our input stimulus almost perfectly, but it rolls off sharply as it hits the TV's peak brightness. The PC and Game EOTFs are nearly identical, which is great.

7.4 Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
83.9 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
48.7 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
63.2 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
36.5 %

The TCL 6 Series has decent color volume. In the P3 volume, it covers the gamut well; this is a great improvement over the TCL P607. In both color volumes, the darker colors are not displayed very well, and blues don't get very bright.

7.8 Gradient
Color Depth
:
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
:
0.121 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
:
0.116 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
:
0.099 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
:
0.123 dE

The performance is comparable to the 2017 TCL P605/P607 model although not quite as good. There is some small banding visible in dark reds, greens and grays, but no major banding in any color. Those minor imperfections are not likely to ruin a good HDR movie watching experience.

10 Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
:
0.00 %

There is no image retention on this TV. As always this is good news for gamers and PC users who might use this TV as a monitor.

10 Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
:
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.

Pixels

The pixel structure is quite different from the P607, but there are still artifacts visible with native 4k content as seen in the 4k input box.

7.9

Motion

The TCL 6 Series has good motion handling. The response time is great, and motion appears clear and relatively flicker-free due to the high backlight refresh rate. It can reduce the backlight frequency to help reduce stutter, but this results in some strange duplications. Movies look great and are judder-free.

8.4 Response Time
80% Response Time
:
6.3 ms
100% Response Time
:
12.4 ms

Very good response time. Most of the blur in the above photo is due to persistence. Pixel response is similar to the P607. There is almost no overshoot in any of the transitions.

7.9 Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
:
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
:
480 Hz

The TCL 55R617 mainly dims the backlight through PWM, although there is some amplitude dimming as well. The backlight flicker is hardly noticeable, as it flickers at 480Hz, a significant improvement over the 120 Hz flicker on the P607.

10 Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
:
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
:
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
:
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
:
N/A
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
:
60 Hz

The TCL 6 Series has a new optional black frame insertion feature that can adjust the backlight flicker to help clear up motion by introducing flicker.

This can be enabled by going to Options->Advanced Picture Settings and turning LED Motion Clarity On.

The TV can flicker as low as 60 Hz, even in game mode, but there are some strange results. It appears to flicker each color individually, resulting in visible duplications of different colors, as seen here. This is also noticeable when moving around with BFI enabled.

7.0 Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
:
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
:
No

The TV can interpolate lower frame rate content as high as 60 fps. Motion can look a little strange to some people when enabled, this is commonly known as the Soap Opera Effect. This does not work when connected to a PC, and there is no way to bypass this as this TCL automatically detects when it is connected to a PC.

Motion interpolation is new this year on the TCL R617, and it can be enabled by going to the Advanced picture settings menu, and setting Action Smoothing to either Off, Low, Medium or High.

7.2 Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
:
29.3 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
:
4.3 ms

The TCL 6 Series can display most content without stutter, but there is some noticeable stutter when playing 24p content - like Blu-ray movies. This is mostly noticeable in wide-panning shots.

10 24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
:
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
:
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
:
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
:
Yes

The TV is judder free when playing native 24p content from a Blu-ray player. To remove judder from other sources, Natural cinema must be enabled in the Advanced Picture Settings menu. This is a significant improvement over all other TCL TVs we have reviewed.

0 Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
:
60 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
:
No
4k VRR Maximum
:
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
:
N/A
1080p VRR Maximum
:
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
:
N/A
1440p VRR Maximum
:
N/A
1440p VRR Minimum
:
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors
:
N/A

The TCL 6 Series doesn't support any of the Variable Refresh Rate technologies like AMD Freesync. We tested on a PC with an AMD Radeon RX 580.

9.2

Inputs

The TCL 6 Series has excellent low input lag, as long as Game mode is enabled. The input lag is extremely low, great for console gaming. When in PC mode, Game mode must be enabled to get the lowest input lag. Like the 2018 Samsung TVs we have tested, there is no DTS passthrough, so it is recommended to connect your Blu-ray player or game console directly to your receiver if you want surround sound on movies.

Update 01/09/2019: We retested the DTS passthrough with the new firmware and it works properly thus giving you more options regarding your external device connectivity.

9.3 Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
:
17.6 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
:
152.4 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
:
17.6 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
:
19.2 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
:
19.6 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
:
19.2 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
:
122.8 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
:
148.1 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
:
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
:
N/A
1440p @ 120 Hz
:
N/A
4k @ 120 Hz
:
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
:
N/A
1440p with VRR
:
N/A
4k with VRR
:
N/A
8k with VRR
:
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
:
No

The TCL 6 Series has excellent low input lag, as long as Game mode is enabled. With Game mode disabled, input lag is extremely high. 1080p and 4k input lag is very similar. The TV is a 60Hz panel, as such 120Hz input is not supported.

For use as a PC monitor, the TV automatically detects when it is connected to a PC. If it doesn't automatically detect it, changing the input label to Computer will enable PC Mode. For the lowest input lag in PC mode, Game mode must also be enabled.

8.3 Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
:
No
1440p @ 60 Hz
:
Yes (forced resolution required)
1440p @ 120 Hz
:
No
4k @ 60 Hz
:
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
4k @ 120 Hz
:
No
8k @ 30 Hz or 24 Hz
:
No
8k @ 60 Hz
:
No

The TV supports most resolutions without issue. For use as a PC Monitor, PC mode must be enabled; either by the TV's auto-detection or by changing the input label to Computer. The TV must be in PC mode for chroma 4:4:4 to work.

Input Photos

All of the inputs are directed out the side. There is an included mini break out cable for composite input, but no component input.

Unlike the P607, there is no headphone output on the remote. To connect headphones, the audio output on the side of the TV is the only option.

Total Inputs
HDMI : 3
USB : 1
Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm : 1
Analog Audio Out RCA : 0
Component In : 0
Composite In : 1 (incl. adapter)
Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
Ethernet : 1
DisplayPort : 0
IR In : 0
SD/SDHC : 0

Unlike the P607, there is no headphone output on the remote. To connect headphones, the audio output on the side of the TV is the only option.

Inputs Specifications
HDR10
:
Yes
HDR10+
:
No
Dolby Vision
:
Yes
HLG
:
No
3D
:
No
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
:
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3)
HDMI 2.1
:
No
CEC : Yes
HDCP 2.2 : Yes (HDMI 1,2,3)
USB 3.0
:
No
Variable Analog Audio Out : Yes
Wi-Fi Support : Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

For the audio return channel to work, CEC must be enabled in Settings -> System -> Control other devices (CEC) -> ARC (HDMI 3).

For 5.1 passthrough on the ARC, the Audio Mode must be set to Auto in the Settings -> Audio menu, with S/PDIF and ARC set to "Dolby D, DTS". With other settings no sound was getting passed through to our receiver, not even stereo PCM.

DTS passthrough doesn't work, which is unexpected since it did on last year's P607.

Update 06/05/2018: To support HDR on HDMI ports connected to an Xbox One, the HDMI ports must be manually set to HDMI 2.0 as the Auto setting will not automatically switch to HDMI 2.0 due to a detection issue.

Update 01/09/2019: We retested the DTS passthrough with the new firmware and now it works properly.

Audio Passthrough
ARC
:
Yes (HDMI 3)
eARC support
:
No
Dolby Atmos via TrueHD via eARC
:
No
DTS:X via DTS-HD MA via eARC
:
No
5.1 Dolby Digital via ARC
:
Yes
5.1 DTS via ARC
:
Yes
5.1 Dolby Digital via Optical
:
Yes
5.1 DTS via Optical
:
Yes
5.8

Sound Quality

The TCL 6 Series has a sub-par sound quality. This TV does get loud enough for most situations and produces clear dialogs. However, it doesn't produce much bass and doesn't have a room correction system either. For a better sound, dedicated speakers or soundbars are recommended.

5.5 Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
:
142.54 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
:
6.43 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
:
6.24 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
:
5.37 dB
Max
:
87.2 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
:
2.63 dB

The frequency response is sub-par. The LFE (Low-frequency extension) is at 143Hz, which means this TV won't produce any thump or rumble, and not a lot of body and punch either. The response above the TV's LFE is relatively well-balanced, which is important for producing clear dialogs. However, since this TV doesn't have a room correction system, it wasn't able to remove the mode of our test room around 200Hz. Additionally, it gets loud enough for most situations, and doesn't produce an excessive amount of compression artifacts under heavier loads.

6.6 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.072
Weighted THD @ Max
:
0.396
IMD @ 80
:
11.36 %
IMD @ Max
:
17.02 %

The distortion performance is about average. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is within good limits at 80dB SPL, but slightly elevated at max volume. This TV also produces high amounts of intermodulation distortion, which could translate to a less transparent treble. Both the effect will be subtle and won't be noticeable to most users.

7.7

Smart Features

Smart OS : Roku TV
Version : 8.0

The TCL 6 Series runs the Roku TV smart platform. The interface isn't as fancy as the competition, but it is very smooth and easy to use. The interface is remarkably fluid, and there are no frames drops or lagging. The Roku companion app is the best one out there, and the TV can cast the audio from native apps to your smartphone, great for late night listening. The remote doesn't have the audio headphone jack from last year's P607

8.0 Interface
Ease of Use
:
Easy
Smoothness
:
Very Smooth
Time Taken to Select YouTube
:
3 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
:
4 s
Advanced Options
:
Many

The interface is easy to use and smooth. There are no serious performance issues or dropped frames.

0 Ad-Free
Ads
:
Yes
Opt-out
:
No
Suggested Content in Home
:
Yes
Opt-out of Suggested Content
:
No

There are ads in the home menu, and there is no way to disable them. During our testing, we were presented with ads for other Roku devices compared to the suggested content ads that were present on previous TCL TVs.

8.0 Apps and Features
App Selection
:
Many
App Smoothness
:
Average
Cast Capable
:
Yes
USB Drive Playback
:
Yes
USB Drive HDR Playback
:
Yes
HDR in Netflix
:
Yes
HDR in YouTube
:
Yes

The TCL 6 Series has a wide selection of available apps through the built-in Roku smart interface. There are also hundreds of streaming channels available, many of them free. The built-in apps are able to play pretty much everything. It is one of the best smart TVs we've tested in 2018.

7.0 Remote
Size
:
Small
Voice Control
:
Search, Some Other Features
CEC Menu Control
:
No
Other Smart Features
:
No

The remote included with the TV doesn't use IR, so it does not require line of sight. Unlike the enhanced remote included with the P607, the R617 does not have an audio output on the remote. With the removal of this feature the remote is quite a bit lighter and thinner than the P607 remote.

The basic remote on the R615 requires line-of-sight to the TV, and does not have voice control options.

8.0 Remote App
Acts as the Remote
:
Yes
Directly Launches Apps and Inputs
:
Both
Inputs Text in YouTube
:
No
Inputs Text in Netflix
:
Yes
Streams Device Files
:
Yes
Controls TV Settings
:
Some
Voice Control
:
Yes

The TCL remote app is the best one out there. Aside from working as a replacement remote, it can cast the TV's audio (from apps only) to your phone. You can also browse the Roku Streaming Channels store and add apps and channels to your TV from there. It also provides easy access to more advanced settings, and is the only way to access the white balance calibration of the TV.

TV Controls

There is a single button. Pressing this button will turn on the TV, and when on will display a menu. The menu can only be used to change inputs or power off the TV.

In The Box

  • 3.5mm Breakout Cable for Composite Input
  • Dust Covers
  • Batteries
  • R617: Enhanced RF Remote
  • R615: Basic IR Remote
  • Instruction Manual
Not Shown:
  • 60.5" Power Cable
To learn more about the different variants of the R617, click here.

Misc
Power Consumption : 57 W
Power Consumption (Max) : 131 W
Firmware : 8.0.2 • build 4140-30

Differences between Sizes and Variants

We tested the 55" (55R617). For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 65" version (65R617) as well. We have received wide reports of issues with gray uniformity. While we expect our results to be representative of most people's experience, results may vary.

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their TCL R617 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.

The variant found at Bestbuy (55R615) is the same TV, but it has a simpler IR remote that requires line-of-sight and does not have the voice control feature.

Warehouse outlets will sell the R613, which is identical to the R617 including the voice remote, but still does not include the private listening feature of the P607.

Size Model Best Buy Variant Warehouse Varient
55" 55R617 55R615 55R613
65" 65R617 65R615 65R613
75" 75R617 75R615 -

In Europe, the TCL models are completely different and do not directly correspond with the U.S. models.

Update 01/07/2019: TCL has announced the addition of a 75" model. It has more local dimming zones, and there have been some reports that it has a native 120 Hz panel, but we don't know for sure.

Compared to other TVs

Top left: TCL P607 (55P607). Bottom left: Sony X900F (XBR55X900F). Middle: TCL R617 (55R617). Top right: TCL S517 (55S517). Bottom right: Samsung NU7100 (UN55NU7100).  Unlike our other photographs, this picture wasn't taken under a controlled environment, so do not draw conclusions from it.

The TCL R617 is a great, versatile TV that offers excellent value. It outperforms most of the competition in the same price bracket and is the best Roku TV we've tested so far. See also our recommendations for the best TVs under $1,000.

Vizio M Series Quantum 2019
43" 50" 55" 55" 65" 65"

The Vizio M Series Quantum 2019 and the TCL R617 are very similar overall. The M Series has a better local dimming feature and much better black uniformity, so it's a better choice for a dark room. The R617 is a lot brighter, and has an optional motion interpolation feature.

TCL 5 Series/S517 2018
43" 49" 55" 65"

The TCL R617 (6 series) is significantly better than the TCL S517 (5 series). The TCL R617 incorporates local dimming support to improve blacks in a dark room, and at the same time, it can get brighter which is great for a bright room with glare. The TCL R617 has better response time so only a small blur trails the image when you watch sports and has an optional black frame insertion to introduce flicker and make the image crisper. Finally, the TCL R617 has much better HDR performance.

Vizio P Series 2018
55" 65" 75"

The Vizio P Series 2018 is better than the TCL 6 Series R617 (R613/R615). The Vizio P Series has better motion handling than the TCL R617, thanks to the higher refresh rate, and is nearly flicker-free. It also has a better local dimming feature that improves dark room viewing. The Vizio P's motion interpolation feature is more advanced thanks to the native 120 Hz panel, and it can interpolate 60 fps content up to 120Hz.

Hisense H9E Plus
55" 65"

The TCL 6 Series R617/R615/R613 is better than the Hisense H9E Plus. The TCL R617 is a lot brighter than the H9E Plus, so it's better able to overcome glare in a bright room. HDR performance is much better on the R617 as it features a full array local dimming feature, great for dark room viewing, and it's brighter, so bright highlights really stand out in HDR. The R617 also has lower input lag and supports chroma 4:4:4, great for use as a PC monitor.

Samsung NU7100
40" 43" 50" 55" 58" 65" 75"

The TCL R617 6 Series is much better than the Samsung NU7100. The TCL R617 can deliver deeper blacks with its local dimming support, and this is great for watching movies in a dark room. The TCL 6 Series also has a faster response time and thus a smaller blur trail, and better HDR performance with highlights that pop. The Samsung NU7100, on the other hand, has a lower input lag which is great for fans of video games and better gray uniformity for an image without clouding.

Samsung NU8000
49" 55" 65" 75" 82"

The Samsung NU8000 and the TCL 6 Series (R617) have very similar performance. The TCL R617 has better local dimming performance, so blacks look deep in a dark room and better HDR peak brightness that makes highlights pop in HDR content. The Samsung NU8000, on the other hand, supports FreeSync variable refresh rate which can eliminate tearing if you play video games. Finally, the Samsung NU8000 has better gray uniformity, so the image is free from clouding or shadows in slow panning uniform-color shots like a hockey arena or a soccer field.

Vizio M Series 2018
55" 65" 70"

The TCL 6 Series R617 is slightly better than the Vizio M Series 2018. The TCL R617 can get brighter to fight glare in a bright room but can also display deeper blacks in a dark room since it has better native contrast ratio and support for local dimming. Also, the TCL R617 has a lower input lag which is great if you play video games. It has better HDR performance and better motion handling features as it has support motion interpolation. The Vizio M Series 2018, on the other hand, has better reflection handling and better gray uniformity which is great if you watch sports in a room with many lights.

Hisense H8F
50" 55" 65"

The Hisense H8F and the TCL 6 Series/R617 are very similar overall. The R617 is a lot brighter than the H8F and has better motion handling. The H8F looks much better in a dark room and has better reflection handling.

Sony X900F
49" 55" 65" 75" 85"

The Sony X900F is better than the TCL 6 Series (R617). The Sony X900F displays deeper blacks in a dark room due to better local dimming, and this is great if you watch movies. The Sony X900F can also handle reflections better and has a faster response time that leaves only a small blur trail. It also has better gray uniformity for an image without clouding or shadows. On the other hand, the TCL R617 has a lower input lag which is great if you play video games.

LG B8 OLED
55" 65"

These are two different types of TVs. However, the OLED LG B8 has a significantly better overall performance than the VA panel TCL R617 in almost all aspects. The TCL R617 doesn't have the risk of burn-in, can get bright enough to fight glare, and has a slightly lower input lag, which is great for video games. On the other hand, the LG B8 delivers an outstanding dark room performance thanks to its perfect blacks, has wider viewing angles, and has a faster response time which leaves almost no blur in fast-moving content like sports. Finally, the LG B8 has better gray uniformity for mixed usage.

Samsung Q6FN/Q6/Q6F QLED 2018
49" 55" 65" 75" 82"

The Samsung Q6FN is marginally better than the TCL R617. The Samsung Q6FN is packed with gaming features like lower input lag, even with motion interpolation, and FreeSync support. The TCL R617, on the other hand, can get brighter both in SDR and HDR and has better local dimming, which is great when watching movies in a dark room.

Samsung RU7100
43" 50" 55" 58" 65" 75"

The TCL 6 Series R617 is much better than the Samsung RU7100. The TCL R617can get brighter, and also has better dark room performance thanks to the local dimming support. The R617 has a better HDR performance thanks to the better HDR peak brightness and better color volume, and it can deliver crisper motion thanks to the faster response time. The Samsung RU7100 has a lower input lag, which is great for games, and better gray uniformity, which can be important to sports fans.

TCL S Series/S405 4k 2018
43" 49" 55" 65"

The TCL R617 is significantly better than the TCL S405. The TCL R617 can deliver deeper blacks thanks to the higher native contrast ratio, and has a local dimming feature to further enhance dark room performance. The R617 can remove 24p judder from older movies and can get much brighter. The R617 has a wide color gamut and can display more vivid colors. The TCL S405, on the other hand, has marginally lower input lag for video games.

Vizio P Series Quantum 2018
65"

The Vizio P Series Quantum is significantly better than the TCL 6 Series/R617 2018. The Vizio has better dark room performance thanks to the higher contrast ratio, and more effective local dimming support. The Vizio has better reflection handling, a wider color gamut, and better color volume that enhances HDR performance. Finally, the Vizio has a faster response time and displays crisper motion. The TCL can display judder-free movies from any source.

Hisense H9F
55" 65"

The Hisense H9F is better than the TCL 6 Series/R617 2018. The H9F has better reflection handling and a much better response time. The H9F also has a slightly better local dimming feature, and it can interpolate motion up to 120Hz. On the other hand, the R617 has a more versatile black frame insertion feature.

LG UK6300
43" 49" 50" 55" 65"

The two TVs have different panel types, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The LG UK6300 has an IPS panel, so the image remains accurate when viewed from the side, thanks to the wider viewing angles. The TCL R617 has a VA panel and delivers a much better dark room performance with deep blacks, thanks to the high contrast ratio and local dimming support. It can get much brighter in both SDR and in HDR, and can easily fight the glare of a bright room. The R617 has a wide color gamut and can deliver a much better HDR performance.

Samsung RU8000
49" 55" 65" 75" 82"

The TCL R617 is slightly better than the Samsung RU8000. The R617 has a full array local dimming feature, although it's mediocre, and the R617 can get a lot brighter. The Samsung RU8000, on the other hand, has better uniformity and a faster response time, so fast-moving objects in games and movies look better.

TCL 4 Series/S425 2019
43" 49" 50" 55" 65" 75"

The TCL 6 Series R617 is much better than the TCL 4 Series S425. The TCL R617 has better dark room performance, thanks to its local dimming feature, and better black uniformity. The TCL 6 Series can get brighter and has a better color leading to better HDR performance. The R617 can display judder-free movies, whereas the TCL S425 has a lower input lag, great for games, and a little faster response time, so motion looks slightly crisper.

Vizio E Series 2018
43" 50" 55" 65" 70" 75"

The TCL 6 Series R617 is better than the Vizio E Series 2018. The TCL R617 can get brighter and is more suitable if you have a bright room. The R617 can deliver better dark room performance thanks to its local dimming support and has an optional motion interpolation feature to please the Soap Opera Effect fans. Finally, the TCL R617 has a wide color gamut, so HDR content looks much better.

LG UM7300
43" 49" 50" 55" 65"

The TCL R617 and the LG UM7300 use different panel technologies, each with their strengths and weaknesses. The R617 is better for watching movies or gaming in a dark room, as it has much better contrast, a full array local dimming feature, and an optional black frame insertion feature. The UM7300, on the other hand, is better-suited for watching sports or TV shows in a bright room with wide seating.

Samsung Q70/Q70R QLED
49" 55" 65" 75" 82" 85"

The Samsung Q70R/Q70 is better than the TCL6 Series R617 2018. The Q70R has better reflection handling, great for a bright room and a faster response time that delivers crisper motion. The Q70R has some nice gaming features including support for AMD's FreeSync, low input lag with motion interpolation. The R617 supports Dolby Vizion whereas the Q70R supports HDR10+. 

TCL P Series/P607 2017
55"

The TCL 6 Series R617 is somewhat better than the TCL P607. The TCL R617 has a motion interpolation feature which will please the soap opera effect fans and a slightly better SDR peak brightness which is great if you watch TV shows in a brighter room. The TCL R617 also has better black frame insertion (BFI) that clears the image blur in fast action. On the other hand, the TCL P607 has slightly better contrast, which is great if you watch movies in a dark room and a lower input lag to please those who play video games.

Samsung NU6900
43" 50" 55" 65" 75"

The TCL 6 Series R617 is much better than the Samsung NU6900. The R617 is much brighter, has a slightly faster response time, and can remove judder from all sources. The TCL also has a full array local dimming feature, which helps improve dark room performance, although it isn't very effective.

LG SK8000
49" 55" 65"

These two TVs have different panel types, each with its advantages and disadvantages. The LG SK6300 has an IPS panel and is a better choice for a room with a wide seating arrangement, as the image remains accurate when viewed from the side. The TCL R617 has a VA panel and has a much better dark room performance with deep blacks, thanks to the high contrast ratio and better local dimming support. The R617 can get brighter and is more suitable if you have a bright room. The R617 has a wide color gamut and can deliver a much better HDR performance.

Samsung Q60/Q60R QLED
43" 49" 55" 65" 75" 82"

The TCL R617 is slightly better than the Samsung Q60R. The R617 has a mediocre local dimming feature, whereas the Q60R has no local dimming. The TCL is much brighter in both SDR and HDR. The Samsung Q60R has a faster response time, great for fast action movies or gaming, and it supports FreeSync.

TCL C Series/8 Series C807 2017
55" 65" 75"

The TCL 6 Series R617 is much better than the TCL C807. The R617 is brighter, and also has better dark room performance thanks to the full array local dimming feature and better black uniformity. Motion looks crisper with less blur thanks to the faster response time, and the better black frame insertion feature can further improve motion clarity.

Sony X800G
43" 49" 55" 65" 75"

The TCL 6 Series/R617 and the Sony X800G use different panel types, each with different advantages and disadvantages. The X800G is better for a bright room with wide seating, whereas the R617 is better suited for direct seating in a dark room. Beyond these differences, the R617 is a lot brighter, has lower input lag, and can remove judder from any source.

Sony X750F
55" 65"

The TCL R617 is much better than the Sony X750F. The TCL has better blacks and better HDR performance due to the high native contrast ratio and local dimming support. It also has better brightness and a wide color gamut, and in HDR, it can make highlights pop. It has lower input lag which is important if you play games or use the TV as a PC monitor. On the other hand, the Sony has better viewing angles and is more suitable for wide seating arrangements.

Samsung RU7300
55" 65"

The TCL 6 Series/R617 2018 is much better than the Samsung RU7300. The R617 has a full array local dimming feature and is significantly brighter than the RU7300. The R617 also has a much faster response time and can remove judder from all sources. The RU7300 has a curved screen, which can make some reflections more noticeable.

LG UK7700
55" 65"

The TCL R617 is a better TV than the LG UK7700. The TCL617 has a VA-panel and can display deeper blacks and brighter highlights due to the better contrast ratio and better brightness, so you will enjoy watching movies and HDR movies more on the TCL. On the contrary, the LG UK7700 has an IPS panel and is better for watching TV shows and sports, as it can better handle the reflections of a room with many light sources, has better gray uniformity, and has wide viewing angles to accommodate for wide seating arrangements.

Vizio P Series XLED 2017
55" 65" 75"

The Vizio P Series 2017 is slightly better than the TCL 6 Series R617. The Vizio P Series 2017 is much better for watching movies as it has better local dimming and better black uniformity and also has better motion interpolation. The TCL R617 has better input lag which is great if you play video games or use the TV as a PC monitor. If you watch a lot of TV shows, the TCL has better upscaling and can handle reflections slightly better.

LeEco Super4
43" 55" 65"

The TCL 6 Series R617 is much better than the LeEco Super4. The TCL R617 is much brighter and has a local dimming feature that is great for dark room viewing. The R617 is able to consistently remove judder from all 24p sources, great for watching movies, and the R617 has a better black frame insertion feature that improves the clarity of motion. The R617 also has much lower input lag, which is great for gamers.

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Conclusion
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

8.0 Mixed Usage
Very good TV for mixed usage. It is a versatile TV that is good for pretty much everything. There are some gray uniformity issues, which makes it a less good choice for sports due to the dirty screen effect, and the image degrades rapidly when viewed at an angle which is bad for those with wide seating.
8.0 Movies
Great TV for watching movies in a dark room. The TCL 6 Series has an excellent native contrast ratio, and the local dimming feature is decent for dimming darker areas of the screen. There may be some issues with uniformity, depending on your specific panel.
7.7 TV Shows
Good TV for watching TV in a brightly lit room. The TV is able to get very bright and can overcome most glare, but the reflection handling is not as good as high-end TVs so some direct glare might be bothersome. The picture quality also degrades rapidly when viewed at an angle, which is bad for those with wide seating.
7.6 Sports
Decent TV for watching sports. The fast response time means motion will be fluid, and the TV can get bright to overcome ambient glare. There are many reports of serious issues with gray uniformity, so there may be more dirty screen effect than we measured depending on your panel. The TV also has a narrow viewing angle so the best picture is reserved for those directly in front of the TV.
8.6 Video Games
Excellent TV for gaming. The TV has excellent low input lag as long as Game mode is on. The fast response time means games are fluid and there is very little motion blur, so fast games look their best.
8.1 HDR Movies
Great TV for watching HDR movies. The TV gets very bright in HDR, and the excellent native contrast and decent local dimmings make for a good dark room viewing experience. It also has a good wide color gamut, but it isn't as wide as higher-end TVs.
8.4 HDR Gaming
Impressive TV for HDR gaming. The TV has excellent low input lag in game mode, and it has a great response time so games are free of annoying trails. The native contrast and good color gamut help games look their best. It doesn't support a 120Hz input, so some gamers might be disappointed.
8.3 PC Monitor