8K TVs are very much like buses on a particularly quiet route: nobody was really waiting for one, and yet suddenly three show up at once. Following on from Samsung and LG’s reveals, TCL – the world’s third-biggest TV manufacturer – has joined with its own 8K offering.
The company seems to exclusively refer to it as the “TCL 8K QLED TV – FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Edition,” but we’re going to abbreviate it to TCL 8K QLED TV for short(er).
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So what does it offer? A huge screen, for a start. The TV’s display is 75-inches across, which is probably for the best given you already need a big set to see the difference in 4K picture quality over HD. But as an 8K set, the TCL 8K QLED TV is certainly capable of packing a lot of pixels in there, with a resolution of 7680 x 4320 – 16 times what you get with Full HD.
What you’ll be able to do with all those pixels is more up in the air. If you thought there was a dearth of 4K content out there, it looks positively bustling compared to the 8K scene. And even if you find some great 8K content to make the most of the set, it’s not clear how it’ll get on screen: there’s no mention of HDMI 2.1, for example.
And as Toshiba’s Bart Kuijten told us yesterday, you could be looking at five or so years before there is a steady stream of widely available 8K content. “It’ll be a similar life-cycle to 4K, because there’s going to be similar investment from the content providers and the programmers to get it to that level,” he said.
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Until then, you’ll be largely reliant on upscaling, which may be very impressive but considering how expensive 8K sets are likely to be, may feel like a bit of a cop-out.
That’s a shame, because the rest of the specifications all sound pretty good. TCL says the TV will use Quantum Dot technology for a wide colour gamut of 157% BT.709 (although there’s no mention of DCI-P3’s expanded coverage) with a peak brightness of 1000 nits, and will also pack Dolby Vision HDR backed by a healthy number of local dimming zones (832 to be exact).
All of this on a screen which is just 20mm thick at its thinnest point. If you think that’ll make the sound a little on the thin side, you’ll be pleased to hear that TCL has an Onkyo soundbar built into the base, featuring Dolby Atmos audio technology. The soundbar can be used when the TV is off, so it makes for a makeshift stereo system, too.
We have no release date or price yet, but for the latter, it’s likely to be on the upper edge of slightly uncomfortable. Given the paucity of content, you’ll almost certainly want to wait until 8K is more widely spread before taking the plunge, but if not keep an eye out for further announcements next year.
Are you desperate for 8K, or is 4K enough for your eyes? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.