Given its price and mid-level status, it's not surprising that the FS4610R lacks a full array of calibration options. That said, there's almost nothing here, as not even a basic set of 2-point white balance controls have made the cut. Luckily, the lack of options makes calibration a breeze: all we had to do was lower the backlight from 80 to 24 with the picture set to "Movie" mode.
Streaming television is here to stay, but cutting the cord can be an intimidating jump for consumers unfamiliar with the ever-changing landscape of digital content online. The TCL 48FS4610R (MSRP $499.99) hopes to simplify the process with one key feature: Roku's popular streaming platform is built right in.
The Roku platform is typically something you get by purchasing a separate set-top box or HDMI peripheral that plugs into your TV, but the FS4610R is more like Roku with a screen attached; it even has a Roku-style remote, perfect for navigating all that easy-to-access content.
The TV itself doesn't have the best picture quality of its class, but it's also a $500 48-inch LED TV; you can't expect that much. It's also available in 40- and 50-inch models, with price adjusting accordingly.
Think inside the box.
Let's cut to the chase: The FS4610R isn't built to win over those interested in thin bezels, sexy stands, and curved screens. The 48-inch panel rests atop a skewed, rectangular glass stand. On the back you'll find a pretty basic set of connectivity options: three HDMI ports, a USB port, shared component/composite inputs, an optical audio output, a headphone jack, and a coaxial jack. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
The real star of the show is, of course, the Roku funcitonality that's built in. The Roku TV comes packaged with a minimalist remote control that puts its smart features front-and-center, not unlike the original Roku remote. There's a directional pad for navigating menus, playback buttons, volume buttons on the side of the remote, and a collection of buttons that function as shortcuts to Netflix, Amazon, and so forth.
There are a couple of immediate drawbacks, however. Although the FS4610R allows users to connect to the web via WiFi, there is no ethernet port on the TV. If your router is right next to your television this should be fine, but if you plan to stick this in a far-flung bedroom somewhere, you're going to need access to a WiFi network. And while we love the Roku-style remote, it doesn't have a headphone jack—one of the surprisingly useful features of newer Rokus.
Built-in Roku functionality makes for a decent entry-level smart platform.
TCL is clearly hanging its hat on this television's built-in Roku platform, which brings Netflix, Hulu, and a host of other streaming apps into users' living rooms without needing to buy anything extra. Though not as extensive as bigger, more prolific smart platforms (LG's webOS and Samsung's Smart Hub come to mind), users will find Roku TV easy to navigate and customize.
The platform's central hub is accessible from any input and is the first thing you'll see after turning the TV on. From this menu, users can select an input or choose from a list of apps that are already installed. Along with the out-of-the-box apps and the variety available in the store, the platform also provides "channels," which offer a wide swath of content ranging from kid-friendly programming to serialized fiction.
Roku TV is a decent entry-level platform for people who may have put off the transition into streaming content at home. It's not nearly as in-depth as some of the competition, but it fits the bill for this price range.
On the nerdier side of things, it's worth noting that the FS4610R lacks pretty much every benchmark picture customization option we use when calibrating our TVs. Users interested in getting some work done under the hood should take note: The most you'll be able to futz with is brightness, contrast, backlight, sharpness, color, and tint. There are no white balance controls nor a gamma slider to speak of.
Televisions produce neutral and colored tones via a balanced combination of red, green, and blue sub-pixels within each single pixel. Since neutral tones like black, white, and gray are the combined efforts of all three sub-pixels, we can measure those grayscale elements to determine the emphasis of each sub-pixel. If a TV favors red, for example, certain shades of gray might appear "warmer" than they ought to. We measure the amount of grayscale error in DeltaE, with an ideal DeltaE being 3 or less.
In this regard the FS4610R is all over the place. I measured an out-of-the-box DeltaE of 9.43, and since the TV lacks picture customization options, making white balance adjustments was out of the question.
Hello blue, my old friend.
The FS4610R's most impressive characteristic is its ability to produce deep, rich shadows in conjunction with bright, contrasting highlights. That said, well-trained eyes aren't likely to be impressed by much else. Most notably, the FS4610R suffers from an issue common with most modern TVs: an overemphasis of blue tones. This isn't a problem limited to our test results, but one that's significantly visible when watching content. Cartoons and video games are less likely to be affected by these cool, bluish tones, but cinephiles might be better off shopping for something else.
The FS4610R's motion performance is also a cause for concern for people looking to get a theater-quality picture in their living rooms. I watched the BBC's Planet Earth documentary and noted a propensity for choppy depictions of motion. Tree leaves and owl wings all stuttered through their respective choreography without any sort of grace, while the blurring effect employed by the TV's software seemed to highlight this issue rather than hide it.
At a hair under $500, the FS4610R is a monument to affordability, not quality. Despite its shortcomings, it's still a 48-inch TV with middle-of-the-road performance, and there's a lot to be said for TVs that fill this particular marketplace niche. With properly managed expectations I expect most consumers will be satisfied, if not pleased.
A display's contrast ratio is its reference white (100 IRE) divided by its deepest black level (0 IRE). Contrast ratio plays a critical role in the evaluation of a television's performance, since deep blacks and bright highlights are the cornerstones of a picture rich with detail.
This is really the FS4610R's only competitive area of performance. Thanks to a black level of 0.047 cd/m2 and a reference white of around 239 cd/m2 I calculated a contrast ratio of about 5083:1. This is a great result for this price range and is the one reason to consider this set over competitors in this price range.
Firmly a budget buy, with some bonus features under the hood.
Here's the bottom line: The FS4610R is an affordable, 48-inch TV built for folks who haven't yet found a primary device for streaming content. If you don't know (or care) what a Chromecast is, but you still want Netflix and other streaming services without picking up a separate device, then this could be the TV for you.
Viewers with well-trained eyes, however, would be better suited by a sharper picture. The Vizio E480i-B2 is available online for exactly the same price as the FS4610R, and it blows the FS4610R away in performance and customization. Both TVs are $500 and both TVs offer some smart features, but Vizio's E Series comes equipped with a stellar picture and far more calibration options.
If you just want a decent-looking TV with well-honed smart features for $500, the FS4610R could fit the bill. But given the ubiquity of affordable, better-performing smart TVs on the market (not to mention even more affordable streaming accessories), you can probably find a better option out there.
If you've ever noticed a drop in picture quality when watching a TV from an off-angle, you've already experienced what we look for with our viewing angle tests. Although a TV's picture might look brilliant with a direct, head-on view, how the picture holds up at a slightly off-center angle is a whole different story.
The FS4610R features a total viewing angle of 29°, or ±15° from the center to either side. That's very narrow, so if you've got a wide seating setup this might not be a great choice. Consumers hoping to take advantage of its 48-inch screen should consider its narrow viewing angle, which might make group viewings hard to swallow.
Accurate color production begins and ends with Rec. 709, a document detailing international standards for the hue, saturation, and luminance of primary and secondary color points. These points are represented visually by a color gamut that the TV is expected to accurately reproduce.
Without a CMS (color management system) built into the TV, there's no way to fine-tune the FS4610R's color points. Its out-of-the-box color production leaves quite a bit to be desired, as most of its primary and secondary points skew towards blue (including its white point).
Meet the tester
Senior Staff Writer@Reviewed
Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.
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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email