TCL says it has no plans to adopt Filmmaker mode on its TVs – here's why

TCL X955 115 Max
(Image credit: Future)

This week, I spent a couple of days in Warsaw, Poland with TCL in order to take a proper look at its 2024 range of QLED TVs. This included everything from the humongous X955 115 Max to its successor to the Award-winning C845K. While it was tempting to get stuck into gawking at the big and bright sets, something caught my attention during TCL's presentation before I had a chance.

While most brands play their cards close to their chests at events like this, I have to give TCL credit for speaking plainly about its thoughts and feelings towards the wider TV industry as a whole. The presentation featured in-depth technical information about its new TVs with facts and figures about how they stack up to not only the company's previous TVs but also its competitor's models. 

Interestingly, TCL made a comment on the video formats it supports across its lineup, and it's a unique approach for sure. The good news is that TCL supports all of the major formats including HLG, HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision – this is a great start as we find even the biggest manufacturers will pick a side when it comes to supporting the dynamic HDR formats.

For example, Samsung sticks to HDR10+, while LG and Sony use Dolby Vision in their TVs instead. It's not entirely unique, however, as its competitor, Hisense, also features a full suite of HDR format support.

As well as this, TCL took a deeper dive into the specific picture modes it includes, such as Movie Mode, Dolby Vision IQ, Dolby Vision Dark and IMAX Enhanced – not all of these are featured on every model, but it's still an impressive range across various price points. 

However, TCL is omitting one important picture format that appeared alongside the ones mentioned above. Currently, it doesn't feature Filmmaker mode on any of its TVs and, by the sounds of it, it has no plans to adopt the format any time soon. I was presented with a large graph with information on all of the picture formats and how they interact with the various picture settings and features that TCL applies via its AiPQ processor, and it seemed to explain why TCL has taken this stance.

The company prides itself on its picture processing features, including colour reproduction, AI upscaling, motion settings and noise reduction; claiming that each of these is integral to how it wants the picture to be presented on all of its applicable sets. As we know, Filmmaker mode is a purist setting that switches off a majority of the picture processing features in favour of a more direct image which is closer to the director's intention.

Therefore, Filmmaker mode is practically of no interest to TCL, as it's meticulous about how those settings are implemented and intrinsically ties them to how the TV presents its image. 

I can kind of see where TCL is coming from as these super sizes 98- to 115-inch TVs require a different level of tuning than the average 55- to 65-inch models. An image that size will make any deficiencies to the picture very noticeable, so using a complex system of picture processing modes to ensure they're not visible is a key aspect of the functionality of these XL TVs.

However, I am a big fan of Filmmaker mode at the same time. I often find myself using it for testing products and on my personal TV at home alike, so having the option to use it would be a bonus. TCL could even remind users that it could have a knock-on effect on motion or colour presentation, but the option would be welcome either way. 


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Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.