New TCL Smart TVs running Android TV

Help and support for HDHomeRun DVR and HDHomeRun software for Windows 10, Mac, Android, XBox, etc.
djp952
Posts: 1242
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:46 pm
Device ID: 131EB7F7;131ED0E0
Location: Elkridge, MD USA

Re: New TCL Smart TVs running Android TV

Post by djp952 »

I got the 32" model to replace an ancient 27" LCD, and have been notably less than impressed.

The CPU/SoC is very weak. HDHomeRun may run OK, but that's about the only app I found to be "acceptable". Something more heavy duty like Kodi is completely unusable on this device. I also had a ton of problems with audio -- some Android apps like Amazon Prime were OK, but Disney+ and Kodi had serious audio delay problems. I was able to fix Kodi by setting a global -200ms audio delay but nothing could be done for Disney+. Given the problems/combing on interlaced channels with HDHomeRun, I can't even recommend that app.

The only plus I found with this device is that it was very easy to calibrate with nothing more than 15 minutes working with the 2-point calibration. The "20 point" calibration was unnecessary. I was also unable to disable the analog/speaker audio with an external digital device enabled. Attaching a Bluetooth audio device just exacerbated the audio delay problems. Difficult playback (1080p VC-1 format) of Blu-ray media (Harry Potter 1 and 2) was impossible, and there was a great deal of trouble with playback of normal 720p recordings via Kodi as well. Black and/or partial screens, and of course the same audio sync problems. I was able to "fix" Kodi by adding an artificial audio delay of -200ms for 60Hz content and -155ms for 24Hz content, but having to do that in the first place was annoying.

CEC support is also not quite right -- unless you go into the T-Link settings and choose "Guide", for which there is no remote control button by default, the TV remote cannot be used to control a CEC device. I hope TCL will fix this since if you actually do manage to find and choose the T-Link "Guide" option CEC works just fine.

Ultimately I had to leave an nVidia Shield (2017) connected to this TV, which completely defeated the purpose of buying it in the first place. The 32" model is also natively 720p, but exposes it's inputs as 1080p for some reason, which could cause you some compatibility concerns. For me it caused challenges with the Picture settings to best match a proper 1080p/4K TV.

My rating: C-. Passable as a 720p TV if you calibrate it, completely unacceptable as a Smart TV. If TCL comes out with a "5" or "7" series Android TV it might be worth looking at, but this "3" series is a piece of crap that can't be used for anything but Amazon Prime or HDHomeRun App if you happen to have no interlaced channels. You get what you pay for; buyer beware.

Dartman
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:29 pm

Re: New TCL Smart TVs running Android TV

Post by Dartman »

What does it run, a OLD dual core or something? I think the 825 has at least a quad core and it runs Roku fine but has issues trying to run the hd HomeRun app that my Shield of course runs fine when the main pc that runs it on my network is awake. Most somewhat modern Android devices are running some sort of octa core these days but some of the newest fastest quad cores still do OK. Even my 2014 Samsung TabS 10.5 tablet has a Octacore cpu even though it has lousy heatsink coupling material so it's actually pretty slow unless you replace them so it doesn't overheat constantly.

PghCordCutter
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2018 8:54 am

Re: New TCL Smart TVs running Android TV

Post by PghCordCutter »

The CPU/SoC is very weak. HDHomeRun may run OK, but that's about the only app I found to be "acceptable". Something more heavy duty like Kodi is completely unusable on this device. I also had a ton of problems with audio -- some Android apps like Amazon Prime were OK, but Disney+ and Kodi had serious audio delay problems. I was able to fix Kodi by setting a global -200ms audio delay but nothing could be done for Disney+. Given the problems/combing on interlaced channels with HDHomeRun, I can't even recommend that app.
[/quote]


You are spot on! I have been having audio issues with all my android Tv devices, it's not just HDhomerun, but Plex, Disney+, Netflix. It's driving me nuts to the point I am starting to come up with weird conspiracy theories on why it's happening! :o

djp952
Posts: 1242
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:46 pm
Device ID: 131EB7F7;131ED0E0
Location: Elkridge, MD USA

Re: New TCL Smart TVs running Android TV

Post by djp952 »

PghCordCutter wrote:
Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:00 pm
djp952 wrote: The CPU/SoC is very weak. HDHomeRun may run OK, but that's about the only app I found to be "acceptable". Something more heavy duty like Kodi is completely unusable on this device. I also had a ton of problems with audio -- some Android apps like Amazon Prime were OK, but Disney+ and Kodi had serious audio delay problems. I was able to fix Kodi by setting a global -200ms audio delay but nothing could be done for Disney+. Given the problems/combing on interlaced channels with HDHomeRun, I can't even recommend that app.

You are spot on! I have been having audio issues with all my android Tv devices, it's not just HDhomerun, but Plex, Disney+, Netflix. It's driving me nuts to the point I am starting to come up with weird conspiracy theories on why it's happening! :o
Honestly the only device I've ever seen run Android TV run on 'properly' is an nVidia Shield, and even then there is some (typically older) content that still gets badly out of sync, perhaps due to an aged or unsupported standard. My wife was watching some old BBC show last night on Amazon Prime and it was absolutely killing me; I can't stand sync issues. I guess some folks are less annoyed by this? :)

In this case, and from my experimentation only, I think there is a legit problem with the TCL TV and audio sync. While problems should be expected with playback of content that requires the application (Kodi) to utilize 5x the available CPU headroom (480% for VC-1 Blu-Ray!), sync issues via both analog and digital output when the system is reporting < 50% utilization is unacceptable -- and difficult to explain.

The best solution seems to be to just avoid Android TV altogether. Perhaps there is a good reason Microsoft abandoned Media Center after all? :)

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