Sceptre 65" Class 4K Ultra HD (2160P) HDR LED TV (U650CV-U) $359.99 @ Wally World, online or in-store
$20 price drop. Now $359.99. Pretty sharp deal for a non-BF unit you can order for free home delivery, or stroll in and buy without risking your life.
I lived with two of these sets for a week or so each. They both went back, here’s the story:
I use a Fire Stick 4K, which is why I prefer non-smart TVs. Unfortunately, when I bought mine in October, there was some confusion about the number of HDMI ports. Walmart’s website originally had incorrect technical info, advertising them as having four HDMI ports, even going so far as to show a photo of the rear, with two banks of two ports each.
In reality, they have three stacked on top of each other. The Fire Stick 4K is especially big and interferes with the port next to it. So you either have you use an HDMI extension, or give up one port. Most other HDMI devices would probably be fine, but it’s something to look out for.
The reason mine went back, though, was that when I connected my Pioneer VSX-524-K receiver to the TV using CEC/ARC, it would show a pop-up on the screen reading “ARC Device Connected” every seven seconds, and it never stopped.
If you’re not familar with ARC, it stands for “Audio Return Channel”, which allows you to use the same HDMI cable to send TV audio to the receiver, and video from other devices (DVD, Blu-Ray, game console, etc) to the TV. CEC allows you to control the TV with the receiver remote, and vice versa. The number of functions available in this mode depends on the age of the equipment and the particular CEC implementation used by the manufacturer, but it’s worth it’s weight in gold just to be able to adjust the volume from either remote.
The Pioneer is a three-year-old, entry level home theater receiver. Will any other ARC/CEC devices have the same effect? No clue. For what it’s worth Sceptre tech support told me, “That TV is so new, we don’t even have a manual for it here in our department”. They assured me it was defective, so I had Wally World send me another one, which displayed exactly the same issue. So they both went back.
If you’re not using a receiver or sound bar with your TV, you can pretty much ignore all that. As a standalone TV, it’s a real bargain. The remote’s a little clunky, but once I adjusted the picture (still using Joe Kane’s Digital Video Essentials) I was very happy with it. Nothing wrong with the feature set, either.
The sound, like most built-in rear-firing speakers on modern TVs, is terrible. But you can grab a cheap sound bar, a stereo amp and bookshelf speakers, or an even cheaper set of computer speakers if that’s all your budget allows. Any of them would be a big improvement. And even if you do run into the ARC banner issue, you could use the optical digital output instead.
Just my 2¢.