After years of trying to justify the upgrade, 4K televisions are finally seeing market acceptance thanks to support from content providers, with streaming services and even game consoles offering 4K experiences. One factor that has really helped push the envelope is the advent of HDR, which boosts image quality to a level that feels like a huge upgrade over the 1080p panels that most people have been using for the past few years.
Of course, price still plays a big role, and it could be a while before 4K HDR can become a household staple. Most TVs that offer this feature are priced at over Rs. 1 lakh, which is out of most consumers’ budgets, but we are now seeing that begin to change. Budget brands such as Micromax and Intex are getting into the 4K game and so are some Chinese manufacturers. In this case, we have TCL. Launched in India as an Amazon exclusive brand, TCL is not the first to offer 4K HDR at a relatively low price point, but it is getting noticed thanks to Amazon India’s push. Of course, we were interested to see what the hype is all about.
TCL 4K HDR TV design and connectivity
The TCL L55P2MUS has a pretty straightforward, unassuming design. It has around half an inch of metallic golden border around all four sides of the panel, and an easy-to-assemble four-piece stand that we managed to set up in a matter of minutes. TVs these days don’t allow much movement in terms of swivel or tilt, so having the TV face forwards with its minimalistic stand is acceptable. The unit is quite slim at the top, but it does gain some breadth on the lower half to accommodate its ports and the down-firing speakers. The metallic gold finish is only seen on the front of the TV, and you get matte black plastic on the back, as with most flat panels.
For connectivity, the TV has two HDMI ports, two USB ports (1xUSB 2.0, 1xUSB 3.0) and a headphones socket on the left, plus two more HDMI ports (making it a total of four), optical audio output, Ethernet, and analogue RF and component inputs at the back. Besides these, the TV also supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless connections to the Internet and other devices. For a budget smart TV, this is quite a generous amount of connectivity.
The TV comes with two remotes. One of them is a traditional IR type with a button for every function, which is comfortable if you don’t want to learn how to use a new input method. The other remote is a bit more exciting with its minimalistic look, Bluetooth connectivity and voice controls powered by Google. We definitely preferred this as it makes content discovery and searching a lot easier.
TCL 4K HDR TV OS and features
The TCL L55P2MUS runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and has access to the Google Play Store. Setting up this TV is super-easy if you have another Android device set up with your Google Account and Wi-Fi settings. You just have to go to a URL and enter the TV’s code, and everything is set up for you automatically.
You get Netflix preinstalled, and both remotes even have dedicated buttons to launch it. Other notable apps are YouTube, Google Play Movies, Google Play Music, and some other Android TV staples from Google. Amazon Prime and Hotstar are missing from the options available in the Google Play Store, but you still have the option to cast content from your PC or mobile device since Chromecast functionality is also built in.
In fact, Chromecast integration saves the day, since the Play Store has some seriously slim pickings when it comes to entertainment apps. On the other hand, you have a lot of options to choose from if you’re hoping to play Android games on your TV. Since the L55P2MUS supports Bluetooth accessories, you can pick up a standard Android controller and it that for games that support it.