TV crashing and freezing on games and media

Not sure if this is the right place to post but would appreciate any feedback before I decide to buy a new TV.

In November 2021 I bought a TCL 6 Series 55 inch 4K HDR Roku TV (model 55R635). Up until now I’ve been extremely happy with it and had no issues whatsoever until last Sunday while I was playing my Saturn (using a RetroTink 5x Pro) when suddenly the sound started glitching and getting really choppy. I freaked out wondering if it was something like disc rot with the game or the Saturn laser failing. Anyways, after about 10-15 seconds the screen froze up and I couldn’t get the remote to respond or go back to the home screen. Eventually the red TCL reboot screen came on and the TV restarted. I checked my Saturn and the game was still running where I’d left off.

Then the same thing happened multiple times while playing Tears of the Kingdom on my Switch. I’d be in the middle of the game, and after about 30 minutes of playing the sound would start freezing and glitching before the TV would crash and reboot just like it did with the Saturn. The TV would also crash and reboot after about 20-30 minutes of streaming any given show. Also intermittent issues with the remote acting glitchy/slow/unresponsive. I went online and researched as many solutions as I could with various power resets/cycling/reseating the power cord, reseating HDMI cords, checking that the firmware was up to date, ect. I called TCL tech support yesterday and they mostly ran me through the same steps I found online. The support rep said a new firmware update went out and said based on my internet speed (8mbps, getting it upgraded to around 350 next week) they think the crashing is possibly being caused by a combination of the new firmware update plus the TV reaching out in the background to the wifi/poor connection as the rep also said 15mbps is the minimum recommended speed for a TCL smart TV. So that’s one idea but I dunno.

Last night the freezing and crashing got so bad it was starting to just frequently reboot in a non stop cycle unless I unplugged the TV. I did a full factory reset and that only worked for a bit, Earlier today I tried one more thing, I went into one of the TV’s “secret menus” and forced it to re-install the current firmware. After installing and restarting it seemed to be fixed. I was able to watch two streaming episodes of a show and then played TotK on my a switch for at least an hour, no more glitching and crashing. After an hour I came back and fired up my Saturn and played for about 30 minutes….now it’s back. I was able to take a quick video of the glitching while it was happening right before the TV crashed (uploaded to my Twitter):

Someone on the TV thread on ResetEra said it’s likely a bad chip set but I wanted to reach out for one more opinion in case anyone here had the same issue. Assuming I’ll be getting a new TV soon I’d also definitely take any recommendations for a better brand that works well for upscaling on 1080p sources like Switch and is also properly compatible with my RetroTink (for context I briefly owned an LG 4K in 2018 which I had to return as Switch games looked terrible on it and not sure if some TVs don’t work well with upscaling devices).

I don’t want to say this because I’m sure you are very fond of your TV but yeah, TCL. Chinese brand with low quality control. If the TV is still under warranty, try to get it replaced or refund and go for a LG or Samsung if in budget.

Oh no worries, thanks for being frank about the product I bought. I “saved” about $150 off the regular price which could have been put towards a more reliable brand and in the end it will cost me a lot more. Lesson learned.

It’s a shame because it seemed like such a great TV and everything looked fantastic on it and still does when it’s not freezing up. Unfortunately it’s out of warranty but I’m going to Best Buy tonight to look for a new TV (will probably go with Sony this time as a friend recommended them and said a few years ago they got a TV replaced with them even out of warranty) and see if they can at least give me some store credit on my next purchase.

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Yeah I mean it’s almost certainly the TV.

In Australia a TV breaking that quickly would be forced to be repaired or replaced at no cost under our consumer laws, products are supposed to work for their expected life timeframe. So worth looking into for your area?

It sounds like maybe the RetroTink 5x Pro could be a trigger (maybe some funky resolution it starts freaking out at after x minutes?), try using it just for standard broadcast/streaming video context for a week. I have seen systems that get ‘triggered’ by a particular unexpected input. If it works fine for video all week then it might be an issue every TV of this model has, rather than just yours being a lemon. If video works fine, while it is still ‘broken’ it’s the design, not just your one. Maybe could sell it, since most people will just be watching TV/netflix anyway.

I’m in the U.S. so unfortunately that kind of protection and coverage isn’t offered here outside of purchasing an extended warranty, definitely envy you. And I honestly don’t think it was the RetroTink as it happened no matter what type of input I was using, modern consoles, streaming, ect. And I did also try using the TV extendedly with the RetroTink disconnected with no difference. Plus it’s not just the freezing glitch at this point, it’s now also often crashing and getting stuck on a startup look soon after the loading the Home Screen, it’s getting worse. So bottom line, TV is dead and very confident it has little if anything to do with any input source or wifi issues. I looked at some TVs earlier this evening and already have a few Samsung and LG models as prospective replacements.

Got an an LG 55 inch Class C2 series OLED which was on sale at Best Buy, really happy with it so far. Switch looks great and also tested out the RetroTink5x on it because naturally that’s the very next thing you test on a new OLED, right? :grin:


Awesome! I’ve got the 65" C1 and love it. I decided against the C2 because of the 4:3 lag issue mentioned here:

Have you noticed this issue with your C2?

16ms of input lag?? Yikes. The two systems I currently use on my RetroTink 5x Pro are my Turbo Duo and my Saturn and I’ve seen no noticeable difference in performance input lag wise now on my LG C2 versus when I used my RetroTink5x on my TCL 6 series. On both TVs I’ve been using the “1080p fill” mode with an enlarged 4:3 aspect ratio which is my preferred setting. Playing retro games through the RetroTink 5x on my LG C2 has felt great and very responsive overall. The only issue I’ve run into was a few nights ago my RetroTink5x seemed to freeze up in the middle of a game and stopped detecting my Saturn as an input source but I fixed that by having the RetroTink plugged into a USB plug on my power strip instead of the TV’s USB port which I’m guessing wasn’t supplying enough consistent amp/power, hasn’t happened again since.

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Glad to hear you’re not seeing the issue. I believe it only occurs if the TV is receiving a 4:3 signal from the input device and this likely isn’t happening with the RetroTink in 1080p fill mode.

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I’ve had a G2 for a while now and not had issues with the Framemeister, though it’s doing 1080p at all times I guess.

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One odd thing I’ve run into on both TVs (both when using the RetroTink5x and when I used to run my games through the Framemeister) is occasionally when performing certain actions the game’s display will shift from light to dark or vice versa. For example, last night I was playing Bonk’s Adventure on my Turbo Duo and on the first stage when jumping high in the air and into the upper half of the screen, the display would darken a little bit and then after landing back on the ground the display would go back to a normal brightness level. I’ve also noticed this on certain parts of 3D games such as the very dark underground ruins lair in Panzer Dragoon Saga when you’re separated from your dragon and are riding on an air speeder but have free movement and occasionally in the on foot town sections.

It’s kind of hard to describe but as said before, it’s like a very mild dimming effect caused by movement. Fortunately it doesn’t happen often and it also doesn’t impact the clarity and quality of the picture so it doesn’t bother me much but it does make me wonder what the cause is, whether it’s something minor I need to adjust or if it’s just an inherent issue with upscalers as it’s happened with two different TVs and two different upscaling devices.

My LG dis that too via the Retro Tink 5Xpro. It’s to do with the TVs automatic dimming control. Just switch that off and you should be fine.

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Is this it? Because I already had this turned off when the issue was occurring:

Yeah, Switch that off and there should also be a auto contrast option as well.
When I get home ill take a look on my LG and show you.

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These images are taken from my 4k 120htz input which I use for my Series X so they’re a little different to what I use for Retro stuff. Anyway, first up you want to switch off Dynamic Contrast under the advanced controls

Next, under picture options, Switch off Led local dimming.

With these two switched off you should no longer have the TV changing it’s brightness.

Your menus are a bit different than on my LG model. My CG 2 doesn’t seem to have an LED dimming option, there is a separate “OLED Care” menu under all settings and apparently energy saving is what corresponds on my model to LED dimming (do OLEDs have LED dimming?). I already had that turned off:

To get to Dynamic Contrast I had to go to All Settings, Picture, Advanced settings, then the Brightness menu:

And that ended up being the missing piece of the puzzle, once I turned that off the issue was fixed. However, with Bonk’s Adventure I still occasionally notice a bit of small dark colored parts of the background going from light to dark when I jump however it’s not like it was before where the whole screen was going from dark to light since I turned off dynamic contrast, also seems to be the only TG-16/PCE game doing it now, so not sure if it’s just a weird effect thing with art/color scrolling in the background which can’t be avoided? Two other games where this issue was really glaring was on Bonk’s Revenge and PCE Salamander, it no longer occurs at all with both. I just need to test Panzer Dragoon Saga now.

Edit: Just checked Panzer Dragoon Saga now and it’s fixed there now as well. :+1: :slight_smile:

In any case, thanks for all your replies on this, it was a huge help.


Yep I have the same menus in the G2. That makes sense as being the one, games probably confuse it.

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Glad to hear you got that sorted.
If you were still having issues the only other option I could think of is making sure you TV’s ambient light option was switched off (if it has that feature).
It’s kind of like how phones can automatically adjust the brightness of the back light to combat sunlight.

Maybe the OLED screens don’t have an Led level option? My TV while having all the bells and whistles such as 120htz 4K, Dolby vision, HDR 12, Black Frame Inserion and so on, isn’t actually OLED. It’s a form of IPS display using LG’s nano Led tech.
It gives an amazing picture with solid blacks but can suffer from a CRT like glow if there bright white text on a solid black background. This is only noticeable on some credit scrolls when watching 4K BluRay though.

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