Here come the sub-$1,000 Ultra HD TVs

TCL LE50 50-inch set will sell for $999

Published: July 29, 2013 12:15 PM
TCL LE50 (photo: TCL)
Photo: TCL

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With Ultra HD TV prices falling faster than the NY Mets’ playoff hopes, TCL—a TV manufacturer that until recently controlled the RCA TV brand here in the U.S.—will be selling a 50-inch Ultra HD TV in September with a suggested price of $999.

That price hits a new low for an Ultra HD set, at nearly $400 below the current $1,400 selling price of the 50-inch Seiki E50UY04 set. That TV, a model we fully tested and included in our current TV Ratings, was briefly available for about $1,000 earlier this year.

Like Seiki’s low-priced model, the TCL LE50 Ultra HD set—which features a slim-bezel design with a gunmetal gray finish—has an edge-LED backlight and a claimed 120Hz refresh rate, plus four HDMI inputs (including one MHL-enabled input for connecting a smart phone or tablet). But it lacks other features, such as Wi-Fi, access to Internet content, and 3D. Like all the other Ultra HD set’s we’ve seen, it has a 3840x2160 screen resolution, and upscales 1080p and 1080i content to its native resolution.

Find the best set for your needs and budget with our TV buying guide and Ratings.

TCL also announced a new flagship 5510 series of LED-backlit LCD TVs, which hit in August. The sets, available in 40-inch ($399), 46-inch ($499), and 55-inch ($799) screen sizes, all have edge LED backlights and a claimed 120Hz refresh rate, as well as MHL-enabled HDMI inputs. The top-of-the-line 55-inch set is a smart TV with built-in Wi-Fi and access to Netflix, YouTube, and Yahoo’s apps platform. This set has a two-year warranty, longer than most sets.

We currently have two other TCL TVs in our TV Ratings. Both sets are fairly basic models with middle-of-the-road performance, but deliver very good overall picture quality at a fairly low price.

Based on what we heard at CES earlier this year, we're expecting to see more low-priced Ultra HD TVs announced this fall, from secondary TV brands including Haier, Hisense, and Westinghouse. Keep checking back for all our TV updates.

—James K. Willcox

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