Optimal Picture & Motion Settings/Calibration for 4K HDR TV (TCL 65EC788)

Posted 22nd May 2021
I recently upgraded to a 65” TV, the TCL 65EC788. Whilst I am generally fairly pleased with it, there are a few issues I am having mostly with regards to the picture quality and motion handling of the TV.

I was hoping to find some detailed reviews with explanations of the different settings and advice on what should be turned on and off in terms of advanced picture and motion settings. However, I can only assume that this was a unpopular TV, as aside from the obligatory Amazon listing (amazon.co.uk/dp/…P6X) and some Indian Youtube reviews of the C8 variant, there seems precious little info on this set.

Out of the box, like most TVs, I found it excessively bright by default. By turning the brightness WAY down (about 40) and contrast some way down (about 80) with the colour about at the mid-point (50), I can get a generally quite pleasant image, but motion just doesn’t feel as smooth or natural as on my previous TV, which wasn’t anything special at all (a budget 4K non HDR Digihome 55304UHDSM), so I was expecting this TV to be a massive step up, but that hasn’t quite happened.

On fast movement there is definitely a kind of light smearing effect where the motion occurs. I know no LCDs cope with motion perfectly, but my last set definitely seemed better here. I wonder if the TCL uses a VA panel? I know my PC monitor has a VA panel and I see a very similar effect on that in fast moving scenes. There is a LED Motion Clear Setting, should this be on? and judder reduction you can set between 0 and 10, turning it up seems to help a bit, but too high and movement feels unnatural (soap opera effect?) I keep it about half but this doesn’t eliminate the smearing fully.

The other thing is, presumably because it’s a newer TV, there are so many advanced controls I don’t have a clue what to do with. For now, I have just disabled all the advanced features, as I read that generally so-called image enhancement features often do the opposite, but maybe some of them should be on and would improve the motion handling aspect?

Particularly, in terms of picture settings, should I enable: Dynamic Contrast, Black Stretch, Dynamic Backlight or Micro Dimming? In terms of settings with a numeric control there is black level (I thought brightness was essentially this?) and white balance.

I also disabled the noise reduction settings, specifically Digital Noise Reduction and Noise Reduction, plus there is something called Gradation Clear?

My main uses for the TV are gaming, films (Bluray and 4K Bluray) and streaming via Netflix etc.

Couple more, off topic things, does anyone know what the 4 LEDs under the centre TCL logo mean? When I first started using it, they were all orange when switched on. Now, I notice 3 are orange and the right one is red, does this mean there is a fault somewhere? (the TV otherwise seems fine, but red usually equals bad).

Also, when I search for an update for the TV in it’s Android OS, I get the message that none are available, yet if I go to the manufacturer website for this TV: tcl.com/uk/…tml I get the option to download “software” which appears to be a full Android installation (it’s some 1.3GB), but can’t find how you are actually supposed to install it. I’d like to update it if at all possible, as it feels very laggy in use, even basic things like navigating menus and adjusting volume, despite it supposedly having a quad core CPU.

Any advice would be great.
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