The Expert Guide to Technology


TCL 50″ TV 50FS5600 HDTV

Posted December 22, 2014 by Alina Moldabaeva in Gadgets




Company: TCL
Price: $450




Major issue with detecting input. Poor technical support line. Poor quality product.
Bottom Line

The third world largest TV company, TCL, has some major issues outputting audio on its TVs.

by Alina Moldabaeva
Full Article

Recently one of our editors purchased a new 50” TCL TV from for her home. To her surprise her TV wasn’t able to play any audio while watching regular cable show. A few of our readers had complained about the exact same issue so we had our Editor-in-Chief and Technical Director, Jonathan Roubini, investigate the issue.

We followed the steps that any customer could go through in this situation. We bought a new TV, the TCL 50FS5600. We set it up and connected our Time Warner cable box to the HDMI-1 port. There is no audio. We then tried connecting to the HDMI-2 and HDMI-3, but the problem persisted.

We then called TCL’s technical support and we were advised that they never heard of such a problem. We even escalated the issue to a supervisor in the technical support department. They claimed there is nothing wrong with the TV, so it must be our cable box.TCLside

At this point we contacted Time Warner Cable’s technical support. We rebooted the cable box several times and changed several settings on the cable box. Their technician even remotely updated our box with no luck. After a lengthy troubleshooting that went on for several hours, they offered to replace our cable box. We declined that, it wasn’t really Time Warner Cable’s fault in this case.

Knowing that it wasn’t an issue with the cable box, Jonathan decided to take it a step further. Without revealing his identity, he contacted a TCL engineer at the US corporate office. The engineer was able to confirm that there is a known issue with their newer TVs and TCL does not have a solution for it and there is no good workaround.

Our Editor-in-Chief figured out that the HDMI-1 port on this TV is also a DVI port. It is connecting to the cable box as a DVI connection and once the handshake is registered in the TV, there is no way to reset it and the handshake will apply to all other HDMI ports on the TV. Jonathan was able to confirm his theory with the TCL engineer.

To summarize, our investigation shows that if you plug in certain cable boxes into the HDMI-1, the TV will detect it as a DVI connection and won’t give you audio. At this point nothing you do helps. You can reboot both the cable box and the TV, you can try a new HDMI cable, you can reset the TV settings, you can try ports HDMI-2 and HDMI-3, nothing will work. Basically once the TV decides that this input is a DVI, which it shouldn’t do in the first place, there is no way to reset that.

Jonathan devised a quick work around to offer to our readers who can no longer return their TVs. If you plug in RCA audio cables, they will work along your HDMI cable. It’s not ideal, but it works.tcl-back

We were extremely disappointed with our experience with TCL’s technical support. In addition to being on hold for over an hour to speak to a representative, both the technician and his supervisor were clueless about this issue.

We have attempted to contact TCL for several weeks, but we have not receive an official response yet.

At this time, with no solution from TCL, we do not recommend buying this TV. If you already own it, try to return it and purchase something else.


About the Author

Alina Moldabaeva