If you’re shopping for a TCL TV in 2021, here’s what you need to know about the Chinese electronics’ manufacturer’s range for this year. There’s everything from the brand’s bread-and-butter 4K TVs, to new Google TVs and upcoming Mini-LED sets.
TCL is huge in the United States and China, but not as big a name in the UK. It offers separate TV line-ups for the US and Europe, so this range guide will be looking at what is in store for both continents. We’ll update this list with more regarding price and release dates as more information comes to light.
New TCL TVs for 2021
TCL is battling in a few regions for TV supremacy. In the US it’s set to launch its most affordable 8K TVs yet, as well as bringing a range of TVs aimed at those with bigger rooms in the XL Collection.
For Europe/UK, things aren’t quite as super-sized, but there will be new Mini-LED TVs, as well as brand new 4K QLED and HDR smart TVs. Other highlights include the transition from Android TV to the Google TV UI, and the adoption of Dolby Vision IQ for several sets.
Go big with XL Collection
TCL has noticed the market for the big screens is growing in North America, and it’s looking to better serve that market with the introduction of its XL Collection. All three TVs will be 85-inch models and have Roku OS integration. There’ll be a 4-Series smart 4K TV, along with a QLED 4K TV and Mini-LED 8K set with QLED wide color technology.
TCL says this range will fit any budget and exceed the “highest” performance standards”. First off the production line is the 4-Series smart 4K TV, with the 7-Series 4K QLED TV and the 8K QLED Mini-LED arriving later in 2021.
Swapping out Android TV for Google TV
TCL is also jumping into bed with Google TV for 2021. The brand will transition from Android TV to the Google TV UI, which brings movies, TV shows, live TV, apps and subscriptions all in one place for easy access.
TCL’s thinnest QLEDs yet with new OD Zero Mini-LED technology
This year TCL will roll out ultra-slim TVs that feature its OD Zero Technology. OD Zero stands for Optical Depth Zero and is a reference to the amount of space between Mini-LED backlight layer and the LCD display layer (diffuser plate), which has been reduced to 0 mm.
OD Zero users smaller LEDs (similar to Samsung’s Neo QLEDs), and by using smaller LEDs it allows for more light sources to be packed into the TV. The result is a more consistent brightness and accurate image, with better colour reproduction, more precise contrast and smoother uniformity (less blooming). Another benefit is the chassis having an ultra-thin profile, which should like make OD Zero TVs more attractive for wall mounting.
The OD Zero Mini-LED tech is different from TCL’s Vidrian Mini-LEDs tech that we saw at CES 2020 but hasn’t hit the market yet despite a mooted 2020 bow.
More affordable 8K TVs
TCL is driving down the price of 8K TVs with its decision to include ultra high resolution sets in its 6-Series TVs. In fact, all new 6-Series TVs for 2021 will support 8K.
Considering the 6-Series range is one of the company’s more popular (and affordable), this is an attempt to drive 8K into the mainstream by hitting more affordable prices. The company will continue to sell its 4K 6-Series for those unconcerned with the higher resolution. Complete specs are still an unknown, but the new range is expected to go on sale in the middle of 2021.
TCL US TV 2021
- 85R435 – $1599
TCL’s big-screen collection of TVs is made up of three 85-inch behemoths that includes a 4-Series LCD TV, 7-Series 8K QLED model and a high-end Mini-LED powered 8K LCD TV with QLED wide-color technology. Each TV will hit different price points and all will support Roku’s smart platform.
The 4-Series LCD will be out the gates in the first quarter of 2021 for $1599. The two other models will launch in the months after.
Not much has been divulged about the high-end 8K model other than its support for Mini-LED and QLED technology. More is known about the 7-Series QLED, which will have TCL’s Contrast Control Zone for a more striking contrast performance. For gaming there’ll be VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and at least one of the inputs will support 120Hz, but TCL hasn’t elaborated on whether it is 4K/120Hz. The 7-series will also carry Dolby Vision and Atmos.
6-Series Roku TVs
The all-new 6-Series range for 2021 will be exclusively 8K models and have the model name R648. Other than a release window for later this year, TCL didn’t go into much detail about them. We do know they’ll be using the AIPQ upscaling engine for transforming content to near-8K quality.
They’ll also feature Roku OS and it’s expected, not confirmed, that they’ll feature Mini-LED backlights considering the 6-Series 4K range from 2020 had that too.
TCL UK/EU TV 2021
8K/4K Mini-LED TV
Coming to Europe (a UK release is unlikely) is the X925 Pro. The model is a nickname for now, so it could change. What we know is that it’s an 8K LCD TV that uses Mini-LED backlight technology in TCL’s OD Zero configuration. Dimming zones are thought to number in the thousands to reduce blooming and produce a more consistent bright images. Dolby Vision IQ is coming to this model and there’ll be HDMI 2.1 features in VRR, ALLM and eARC.
These are the non-Pro models, which implies they do not have the OD Zero Mini-LED backlight. Dimming zones are downgraded to hundreds instead of the Pro’s thousands, so contrast and brightness won’t be as impactful. This TV, along with the ‘Pro’ and the C825 below, will have an integrated soundbar, which may or may nub the need for an external sound system.
There’s a decent chance the UK could get this 4K Mini-LED. The Mini LED backlight is married with a Quantum Dot display, with a 2.1 soundbar from Onkyo integrated in the chassis.
There’ll be Dolby Vision IQ, adapting the brightness of supported HDR content by using the TV’s light sensor, so the viewer gets the same punchy, detailed HDR performance in both bright and dark rooms. HDR support extends to all the main formats, including HDR10+.
IMAX Enhanced is supported for watching certified IMAX picture quality and sound. HDMI 2.1 features include VRR, ALLM (for instantly putting the TV into low latency mode), and there’s eARC for passthrough of high-quality Dolby Atmos soundtracks. This TV is also slated to launch with the Google TV UI.
With the C728 we lose the Mini LED backlights in favour of a Direct LED backlight, so expect this model to be chunkier in terms of design and feature reduced black levels and contrasts. Also dropped is the integrated soundbar featured on the models above.
Otherwise, the spec is similar to what you’d get from the C825. There’s the all-encompassing HDR support that includes Dolby Vision IQ, Google TV will be present and it looks like it gets various HDMI 2.1 features in VRR, ALLM and eARC.
Features begin to recede with the C725. This could be another set that makes its way to UK shores, and carries a similar spec to 2020 C71 series. It’s a TV with a QLED panel, using Quantum Dot technology to deliver a wide array of colours. HDR support doesn’t include Dolby Vision IQ nor is there any room for HDR10+, which surprises as the C71 boasted support for all the HDR formats.
HDMI 2.1 features are dropped for the most part, so while eARC and the ALLM game mode stays, VRR is not included in the spec (4K/60Hz for gaming). Android TV will be the interface when it launches but expectations are it’ll be updated to the Google TV UI later.
The P725 drops the Quantum Dot panel for a Direct LED backlight, so our expectations is that black levels and contrast will take a knock and blooming will be more obvious. Again, there’s no HDR10+, but there is Dolby Vision HDR, as well as Atmos for better sound processing.
Sizes aren’t as big the C725 – there’s no 75-inch model – but it does offer the smallest size in the entire range with a 43-inch entry. Again, it’s Android TV at launch, with an upgrade to Google TV arriving later.
That’s all the information we have on TCL’s 2021 TV line-up for the US, EU and UK. We’ll be updating this page with more info on specs, release dates and prices as they’re divulged. Below is information on TCL’s 2020 TV range for the UK.
TCL UK TV 2020
C81 (C815K) QLED
Sitting at the top of the 2020 TV range is the C81 QLED TV. Constructed out of premium metal, you get connections housed in a side compartment for easier access when wall mounted. The TV sits on a central three-legged stand to give the impression of the TV floating.
The 75- and 65-inch models feature a native 100Hz panel for improved motion handling. The 55-inch set doesn’t get the same panel, using TCL’s MEMC Motion Clarity Pro Algorithm to stabilise fast-moving images instead. On the HDR front there’s Dolby Vision and HDR10+, plus what TCL refers to as Smart HDR, upconverting Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) images to HDR for greater contrast.
Android 9.0 (Pie) is the OS (no word yet on an upgrade to Google TV). The sound system is an integrated Onkyo 2.1 system that should produce a better performance than a more standard TV audio system, and TCL said it’s aiming for less than 10ms with regards to gaming latency.
C71 (C715K) QLED
The step-down QLED model carries similar features to the C81 but doesn’t have a design as fancy nor does it come with an integrated 2.1 soundbar. The feet are adjustable to fit different spaces (wide and narrow configurations), with a slim bezel and use of premium metal in the construction of the chassis for an elegant and durable build quality. The 50-inch model doesn’t have the adjustable feet.
Freeview Play is supported so you get access to that TV platform plus the connected apps in the likes of iPlayer, ITV Hub et al. Voice control is possible through Google Assistant, and the set “works with” Alexa enabled devices. For sound there are full-range, downward firing speakers with support for Dolby Atmos soundtracks.
P71 (P715K) LED
Features for the P71 have inevitably been downscaled from the above QLEDs as the P71 loses HDR10+, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support. It does have a wider range of sizes, and the design looks to be a notch above most budget smart TVs with a bezel-less design that TCL calls an edge-to-edge display.
The P71 supports Android TV and that means built-in Google Assistant and Chromecast. The TV only refers to having HDR, but we expect that covers HDR10 and HLG formats. There’s also Smart HDR for upconverting SDR, as well as – according to TCL – improving on native 4K HDR content.
The EC78 is one of TCL’s cheapest Android TVs for the UK, featuring an Ultra Slim Metal design that combines a thin bezel with its central stand to help it melt into a room. It gets the brand’s 4K HDR PRO engine, and that has support for Wide Colour Gamut, Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+.
Google Assistant is built-in but there’s no mention of Chromecast. The EC78 Series is another TV in the range that comes with an integrated front-firing sound system developed by Onkyo. It can also support Dolby Atmos soundtracks.
The EP65 Android range is cheaper than the EC78 and comes in more sizes with 43- to 65-inch models available.
There are several downgrades from the EC78 – no HDR10+ or Dolby Vision and no Atmos (replaced by Dolby Audio). With this model, there’s no integrated soundbar either.
Weirdly, the specs count built-in Chromecast among its number where the EC78 does not. You also get Google Home and Assistant functionality, while this range “works with” Alexa, so this TV that can be operated through Echo/Alexa-enabled devices. Like the EC78 the EP65 carries Freeview Play functionality, and there’s the Smart HDR for upgrading SDR content into a more HDR-like experience.