Archive for TCL

TCL Probed By DHS Over Accusations Of Back Doors In Their TVs

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 23, 2020 by itnerd

Apparently the Department Of Homeland Security is probing Chinese based TV maker TCL over accusations that their Android TVs have backdoors that facilitate data theft:

The acting head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said the agency was assessing the cyber risk of smart TVs sold by the Chinese electronics giant TCL, following reports last month in The Security Ledger and elsewhere that the devices may give the company “back door” access to deployed sets, The Security Ledger reports. Speaking at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said that DHS is “reviewing entities such as the Chinese manufacturer TCL.” “This year it was discovered that TCL incorporated backdoors into all of its TV sets exposing users to cyber breaches and data exfiltration. TCL also receives CCP state support to compete in the global electronics market, which has propelled it to the third largest television manufacturer in the world,” Wolf said, according to a version of prepared remarks published by DHS. His talk was entitled “Homeland Security and the China Challenge.” 

As reported last month, independent researchers John Jackson — an application security engineer for Shutter Stock — and a researcher using the handle Sick Codes identified and described two serious software security holes affecting TCL brand television sets and would allow an unprivileged remote attacker on the adjacent network to download most system files from the TV set up to and including images, personal data and security tokens for connected applications. The flaw could lead to serious critical information disclosure, the researchers warned. Both flaws affect TCL Android Smart TV series V8-R851T02-LF1 V295 and below and V8-T658T01-LF1 V373 and below, according to the official CVE reports. In an interview with The Security Ledger, the researcher Sick Codes said that a TCL TV set he was monitoring was patched for the CVE-2020-27403 vulnerability without any notice from the company and no visible notification on the device itself. In a statement to The Security Ledger, TCL disputed that account. By TCL’s account, the patched vulnerability was linked to a feature called “Magic Connect” and an Android APK by the name of T-Cast, which allows users to “stream user content from a mobile device.” T-Cast was never installed on televisions distributed in the USA or Canada, TCL said. For TCL smart TV sets outside of North America that did contain T-Cast, the APK was “updated to resolve this issue,” the company said. That application update may explain why the TCL TV set studied by the researchers suddenly stopped exhibiting the vulnerability. 

In his address on Monday, Acting Secretary Wolf said the warning about TCL will be part of a broader “business advisory” cautioning against using data services and equipment from firms linked to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This advisory will highlight “numerous examples of the PRC government leveraging PRC institutions like businesses, organizations, and citizens to covertly access and obtain the sensitive data of businesses to advance its economic and national security goals,” Wolf said. “DHS flags instances where Chinese companies illicitly collect data on American consumers or steal intellectual property. CCP-aligned firms rake in tremendous profits as a result,” he said.

As far as I can tell, this is restricted to Android powered TVs that TCL makes. I have a Roku powered TCL TV that don’t appear to be affected. But this highlights the fact that if you put something on the Internet, smart or otherwise, it’s a risk. So if this concerns you, and if you have one of these TVs, you should unplug it from the Internet. Though these TVs never saw the light of day in Canada.

Review: TCL 43″ Class 4-Series 4K UHD HDR ROKU Smart TV – 43S425-CA

Posted in Products with tags on November 19, 2018 by itnerd

If you are Canadian, you likely haven’t heard of TCL. But they’re the fastest growing TV brand in the world. And as of November they’re entering the Canadian market with three ranges of TVs to offer consumers something at every feature point. The entry level is the 3 Series, the mid-range is the 4-Series, and the high end is the 6-Series. I figured that the bulk of TCL’s sales is going to be in the 4-Series range with a maximum size of 65″. Thus I requested and got this:

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Meet the TCL 43″ Class 4-Series 4K UHD HDR ROKU Smart TV. I’m going to go right to the price and say that’s it’s $399 CDN and here’s what you get for your money:

  • 4K Ultra HD Resolution
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) Technology
  • 4K Creative Pro upscaling engine
  • 120Hz CMI effective refresh rate
  • Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi & Ethernet port
  • Built in Roku OS which allows you to stream 150,000 movies & TV episodes across thousands of streaming channels

In terms of ports, here’s what you get:

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From the top you get the following:

  • USB Port
  • Ethernet
  • Three HDMI
  • Cable Input
  • Analog port that requires a special cable
  • Headphone jack
  • Optical Audio

Another HDMI port or two would have been great. But this is a good amount of ports. And the fact that they are recessed means that if you wall mount this TV, you will still have decent access to the ports.

The first thing that you’re going to notice is the user interface. You’ll see items like “Playstation” and “Cable Box” complete with a live preview. That makes it easy for anyone to use the TV because everything is labeled in a clear and easy to understand manner rather than “HDMI 1” and “HDMI 2”. So much so that my wife who has been known to not watch TV if I am not around to turn it on and switch it to the right device, figured out how to turn this TCL TV on and find a movie to stream without me being present. That’s pretty impressive. So is the setup process. It took maybe about 20 minutes to walk through the menu driven setup process which not only helps you to set things up but to download updates to the Roku OS.

Now I am not a fan of smart TVs. But the built in Roku OS makes this TV a winner. I love Roku products and they have integrated their technology extremely well into the OS. Using a single remote you can watch TV as well as watch everything from Google Play to Netflix. Plus you can download the Roku remote app to your Android or iOS phone to not only give you access to the private listening function which will allow you to route the audio via your phone to a pair of headsets, but it gives you access to some advanced functions to tweak the picture quality and to enable the TV’s “Fast TV Start” mode which will allow the TV to fire up immediately and maintain a WiFi connection to enable updates to the Roku OS be downloaded when the TV is idle. You also get the voice search function which is absent from the remote that comes with the TV. If I had one tip for TCL, they should consider including the more advanced remote that allows for voice search and private listening so that the person buying one of their TVs doesn’t need to download the Roku remote app to do all of that.

But the thing that you care about is the picture quality. It’s shockingly good. HD content via my Rogers box is bright, vivid and detailed. Sport broadcasts look amazing with no motion blur whatsoever. But when you throw 4K content at it, this TV really comes into its own. The TV supports HDR10 from devices like the Xbox One X where games like Shadow Of The Tomb Raider look amazing. Plus any content off the Roku 4K channel simply pops to life. One interesting test that I did is to use the Zwift virtual cycling platform via my MacBook Pro connected via HDMI in 4K. I could now see cracks in the pavement while riding as well as individual blades of grass which was not present at 1080P. Plus the motion was very smooth with no motion blur of any sort. The picture at worst is easily competitive with the big name TV makers out there. As for sound quality, it’s actually pretty decent seeing as the sound from most TVs is sub par for the most part. But the catch is that you have to have the right environment because the speakers are rear firing. Thus they need something like a wall in front of them in a smaller room to perform at their best. Having said that, I suspect most of you will still go out to source a sound bar anyway.

Here’s the bottom line. I would highly recommend this TV to anyone who is looking for a high quality 4K TV and doesn’t want spend big name money. It is also great for someone who is not as “tech savvy” as I am as it so easy to use. It impressed my wife and I so much that TCL won’t be getting this TV back as it is that good. At a price of $399 CDN, you really can’t go wrong with the 43″ Class 4-Series 4K UHD HDR ROKU Smart TV from TCL. Just download the Roku remote and you’re good to go.

TCL Announces Roku Powered Lineup For Canada

Posted in Commentary with tags , on November 1, 2018 by itnerd

TCL today announced pricing and availability of its new TCL Roku TV models in Canada. The much-anticipated portfolio for Canada includes three lines of TCL TVs that merge superior picture quality with the industry’s best smart TV experience – the award-winning 6-Series boasting Dolby Vision HDR technology, critically acclaimed 4-Series with stunning Ultra HD picture quality, and the simply smart 3-Series featuring a high definition display, all running the Roku OS to deliver more than 150,000 movies and TV episodes.

While all TCL Roku TVs are powered by the Roku OS, each of the three series delivers a unique combination of design, features and performance to fit the needs of every consumer. Crowning TCL’s lineup, the premium 6-Seriesis available in a 55” model (55R617-CA) for $849 and a 65” model (65R617-CA) for $1249 at your favorite retailer. The other models are also available now, starting under $400 for the 43” 4-Series (43S425) screen size while the 3-Series starts with a 32″ model (32S325) at less than $200.

TCL Roku TV 6-Series: Powerful Performance

Elevating the home entertainment experience with enhanced voice capabilities through its first-class smart TV operating system, the new TCL 6-Series combines stunning 4K high dynamic rangepicture performance and powerful stealth metal design for a superior TV experience. The set supports Dolby Vision, a comprehensive and premium HDR solution, as well as open HDR and now boasts HDR Performance Package Pro to further elevate the experience. Leveraging the HDR technology that powers Dolby’s most advanced cinemas around the world, Dolby Vision on the 6-Series TV transforms viewing experiences in the home by delivering greater brightness and contrast, as well as a fuller palette of rich and detailed colors. Dolby Vision is an end to end ecosystem embraced by major Hollywood studios, global content distributors, and OEMs worldwide. More than 200 hours of episodic content and 240+ movies are available in Dolby Vision via OTT streaming or 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

To achieve impressive High Dynamic Range performance, the 6-Series TVs deliver unmatched contrast ratio among LCD TVs using TCL’s Contrast Control Zones® technology to identify bright and dark areas in each frame of content and control each zone within the frame to yield striking contrast between light and dark areas. The new 2019 6-Series features an impressive 96 zones for the 55” model and 120 zones for the 65” model.

HDR Performance Package Pro on 6-Series televisions also feature Wide Color® Gamut with NBP Photon technology for even more realistic colors. TCL’s NBP Photon technology (Nano Band Phosphor) is an innovative combination of high-output LEDs with precision phosphors that deliver a palette on 6-Series TVs nearly matching the DCI-P3 reference color standard found in the professional equipment used by Hollywood content creators. Just as a director envisions the brilliant and saturated colors of a movie using the best camera and display technologies available, the color performance of the 6-Series accurately recreates the vibrancy of the director’s vision in your own living room.

While NBP Photon technology helps ensure vibrant colors, an all-new iPQ Engine® intelligently tailors precise colors based on the capability of each TV to maximize coverage of the DCI-P3 Hollywood color reference standard. Using intelligence gained in TCL’s deep vertical integration throughout the production supply chain and employing this intelligence via an algorithm that monitors performance on each 6-Series, TCL’s iPQ Engine controls the colors so that each TV’s performance consistently delivers an accurate image across the color spectrum for an out-of-the-box experience that’s closer to reality.

Additionally, TCL utilizes HDR Pro Gamma technology to create a custom tone map for different environments to accurately reproduce details so they remain easily visible in any lighting condition. To deliver impactful HDR performance in any viewing environment – from dark home theaters to bright living rooms – TCL’s new HDR Pro Gamma feature ensures every detail is captured in HDR entertainment content and is perfectly visible. The 6-Series offers picture settings available for dark home theaters (HDR Dark), moderately bright living rooms (HDR Normal), and even the brightest sunlit spaces (HDR Bright) so that stunning HDR is available anytime and anywhere.

TCL Roku TV 4-Series: Stunning Picture

The 4-Series marries 4K high-dynamic range, which delivers bright and accurate colors for lifelike viewing, with a super slim elegant design for an upscale TV experience. Offering stunning Ultra HD picture quality with four times the resolution of Full HD, as well as 4K upscaling to display other content in near-Ultra HD quality, the 4-Series 4K HDR TCL Roku TV also includes a dual-band Wi-Fi to capture every moment.

TCL Roku TV 3-Series: Simply Smart

The 3-Series is TCL’s most versatile series with smaller sizes to fit every room in the house, even on a kitchen countertop. These models featurea high definition display, paired with an advanced refresh rate and dual-band Wi-Fi, housed in a sleek design so they look great powered on or off.

For additional product information please visit www.tclcanada.com for the full portfolio.

Palm Rises Fron The Dead

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 6, 2015 by itnerd

Remember the Palm Pilot. Well, back when smartphones were in their infancy…. That would be around the early 2000’s….. My generation had Personal Digital Assistants or PDA’s. The one to get was the Palm Pilot and I had several of them. They eventually evolved into smartphones before being rendered extinct after the release of WebOS which was their attempt to rescue themselves from extinction.

Fast forward to today and it appears that Palm is back. Chinese manufacturer TCL is in the process of raising Palm from the dead according to this press release:

Palm brand has always been synonymous with innovation throughout its history. As such it has consistently acted as a pioneer of mobile technologies. Now is the time to revive and bring back this pioneer spirit.

To do so, TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited (“TCL Communication” or the “Company” which, together with its subsidiaries, is referred to as the “Group”; HKSE stock code: 02618) is very proud to announce that it will create a new Palm Inc., a US-based company that will take ownership of the Palm brand. New Palm Inc. will remain a truly Californian, Silicon Valley, based company leveraging on the talents and partnerships of the area.

Now you might not of heard of TCL, but if you’ve seen the Alcatel Onetouch product line, you’ve seen their stuff. So this is for real. TCL is going to bring the following to the table to support the resurrection of Palm:

Palm will be fully supported by the various assets of TCL Communication:

  • A best in class R&D organization, rich with 5000 engineers across 7 R&D centers around the globe
  • The most modern and efficient mobile devices manufacturing facility
  • A top level quality record recognized by the global tier 1 carriers and retailers around the world
  • A cutting-edge supply chain ready for the flexibility required by the market today
  • A global network already serving more than 170 countries and the most demanding customers of the industry with local Sales, Marketing and Technical teams

This should be interesting to watch. Not only to see a brand rise from the dead, but to see if it will have an impact on the marketplace. Stay tuned.