New TCL 8-Series, using a tape deck with an A/V receiver, C. Crane Radio (Week 40, 2019)

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 40, 2019

Q. I am looking for a high-end TV and do not want an OLED model because of burn-in concerns. I read your review of the Samsung Q90 television, but unfortunately my cabinet will only accommodate 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 have also seen your reviews of the TCL 6-Series. How do you think they stack up? 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.Y., Atlantic City, NJ

A. I am very familiar with both televisions. The picture of the Sony X900F is a tiny bit better than the TCL 6-Series, in a way that is hard to quantify since they are both excellent. That makes the big question whether the difference is worth the higher price. The 55-inch Sony X900F sells for $1,150. The 2018 55-inch TCL 6-Series is now available for $499. Whatever difference there is in picture quality, there is no way it is a $650 difference. It may be a $100 difference, and even $100 may be stretching it. Given the TCL’S Roku interface that makes it a joy to use, for me it becomes a compromise-free decision at less than half the price. I’d buy the TCL 6-Series and run to the register with it.

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. In addition to incorporating a QLED panel and Dolby Atmos, the 8-Series adds 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 will obviously have a higher street price than the 2018 model. I have not seen it yet so 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. 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.

Q. Do they make home theater receivers with RCA jacks for a tape deck?

-M.S.G, Milwaukee, WI

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 just want to play back 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.

Q. I need to buy a battery-powered record for use in emergencies. Can you recommend a good one?

-G.W., Richmond, CA

A. Check out the $89 CCRadio from C. Crane, a name practically synonymous with radio. They have many other models and lots of accessories, and their site is a much-visit for radio lovers.