TCL has been undercutting the prices of Samsung and pretty much every other TV brand over the last few years. In 2020 its 6-Series Roku TV won a few Editors’ Choice Awards as the best TV for the money. Now the China-based company is aiming to make 8K more affordable too. At CES it announced that a new version of its 6-Series would be available later this year with 8K resolution.
The company didn’t share many more details on the new 6-Series (model R648) aside from mentioning that it would use TCL’s AIPQ upscaling engine, Mini-LED backlights, and the Roku operating system. Meanwhile, the 4K version we liked so much will remain on sale.
The biggest detail TCL has yet to disclose is the price of its 8K TV. But given the company’s history of aggressive prices, we can expect it will cost a lot less than $2,700 (which is about £2,000 or AU$3,500). If we had to guess, we’d say $2,000 for the 65-inch model to start, falling to $1,500 for the 2021 holidays. The cheapest 8K TV in the US is a 65-inch Samsung that costs $2,700, at least a grand more than any number of excellent 4K TVs.
Here’s where we remind you that 8K owners will be watching 4K at best for the foreseeable future. Japan’s NHK has said it will broadcast the Tokyo Olympics in 8K, but there’s no word yet on whether that broadcast will make it to the US (assuming the Olympics, already pushed back a year because of the pandemic, actually happen). 8K video games are far from common. No major channel or subscription streaming service had announced 8K. The only 8K videos you can watch now are a handful of clips on YouTube or Vimeo, or video you shoot yourself. A cheaper 8K TV won’t do anything to solve the lack of 8K content, but it could tempt people worried about future-proofing their TV investment.
Mini-LED slims down
The main reason users liked the 6-Series’ picture quality was its excellent brightness and contrast for the money, a direct result of Mini-LED technology. In 2021 TCL will introduce a line of TVs featuring its third generation of Mini-LED, called OD Zero. Compared to current Mini-LED TVs such as the 6-Series, the OD Zero TVs will be much thinner thanks to a reduction in the distance between the backlight layer and the LCD display layer.
Mini-LEDs, not to be confused with MicroLED, are smaller than the LEDs used in most TVs and, according to users review, they improve brightness and can make a backlight more precise, reducing stray illumination for example. TCL was the first to sell a Mini-LED-based TV with the 8-Series in 2019, and LG and Samsung will follow in 2021.
No other details on the new OD Zero TVs were announced, although TCL was careful to note that it’s not the Vidrian Mini-LED system it has shown in the past, which embeds the LEDs in a glass panel to create thousands of dimming zones that improve backlight precision even further. The company did not announce any Vidrian TVs for 2021.
Additionally, The company has announced at CES 2021, that it will roll out a TCL Google TV series in 2021 to TCL customers, starting in the United States and later in other parts of the world. TCL Google TVs will combine TCL’s industry-leading display technologies, such as Mini-LED, 8K and QLED, with Google’s new entertainment experience, to help users discover and access the content they love in stunning definition on the latest TCL screens more easily than ever before.
“The introduction of TCL Google TVs will take our partnership with Google to the next level,” said Kevin Wang, CEO of TCL Industrial Holdings and TCL Electronics. “Our theme at CES this year is ‘Experience More’ and by combining cutting-edge displays with smart and convenient content powered by Google, I am confident we will allow people around the world to do just that in 2021.”
“We are excited to partner with TCL to bring Google TV to customers around the world. Google TV is a more helpful and delightful TV experience that helps users find the content they love,” said Shobana Radhakrishnan, Senior Engineering Director, Google TV.
TCL Google TVs will bring together movies, shows, live TV and more from across apps and subscriptions and organizes them for each user. It offers personalized recommendations so TCL users can discover new things to watch. Users can even ask Google to find movies and shows, answer questions, and control smart home devices with their voice on TCL’s big screens.