TCL formally launched its first TV based on its promised 8K “OD Zero” mini LED LCD TV technology.

The China-based TV maker, which first revealed plans for the new flagship OD Zero technology based set back at CES 2021 in January, released pricing and marketing details as part of a global reveal for the 85-inch set.

TCL said the set incorporates its proprietary “third-generation” of Mini LED backlight display technology.

The 85-inch OD Zero mini-LED powered 8K TV is part of the the company’s X9 series. It is said to feature “revolutionary optics, ultra-thin design, and immersive premium audio combined with the personalized experience of Google TV”.

The new 85-inch television (TCL model 85X925PRO) is launching in various markets along an unspecified timeline. North America will be seeing it “later this year” at a $9,999.99 suggested retail price.

TCL said the set is the newest member of its “XL Collection” of large-screen-size TVs exceeding 80-inches.

The so-called OD Zero technology combines mini-LED backlight technology and an ultra-thin panel “with tens of thousands of mini-LED and thousands of Contrast Control Zones.”

The announcement didn’t give panel depth, or exact peak brightness, black level or color gamut coverage, though the company has said it will be exceptionally thin for a backlit LED display. Unlike the Vidrian technology the company announced several years ago and never delivered here, OD Zero uses a separate Mini LED light sources from the QLED-enhanced LCD display panel.

TCL’s announcement said the result is high “brightness, precision contrast, and smooth uniformity.”

“The zero represents the measurement of distance between TCL’s mini-LED backlight layer and the LCD display layer. In another industry first for TCL, that distance has now been reduced to a remarkable 0 mm to create an ultra-slim high-performance panel in the X9. Combining its smallest mini-LEDs with OD Zero technology features optics that are more compact and require less space inside the cabinet, the X9 is TCL’s thinnest QLED TV yet,” the announcement said.

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The 85-inch TCL X925PRO has an 8K UHD panel with over 33 million pixels “four times the sharpness of 4K TVs.” TCL North America said the set is “planned” to receive certification by the 8K Association.

For video processing and upscaling to the massive pixel array, TCL said every frame on the X9 is intelligently enhanced by TCL’s AiPQ Engine technology based on AI machine-learning to dynamically adjust color, contrast, and clarity. The company said this produces enhanced 8K HDR presentation using three core picture quality algorithms that the company is calling “Smart 8K HDR” (wide color), “Smart 8K Upscaling” (resolution clarity), and “Smart 8K Contrast” (image depth).

For sound, the X9 set incorporates Onkyo-tuned drivers and Dolby Atmos 3D audio processing for immersive, high-fidelity surround sound. The set features 25 speaker drivers combined to handle object-based audio effects across 5.1.2 channels.

TCL said the set further adds “a unique acoustic design so side speakers are reflected toward the audience to create an incredibly wide sound stage.”

The set’s cosmetics include a brushed anodized aluminum housing that is accented with piano black finishes, and a design-coordinated integrated stand that can be configured for any environment as a floor stand, table stand, or wall mount, the company said.

Along with this is “FullView edge-to-edge glass”.

“As an innovator in mini-LED backlight technology, I’m proud to say that TCL is reaffirming its leadership in the television industry by revolutionizing high performance TVs to bring the distance between the mini-LED and the LCD to zero for the ultimate display of contrast and luminance. The X9 is TCL’s most premium model, crowning our new XL Collection, and represents a significant shift in content consumption where consumers are seeking out large-size, powerful televisions that can exceed today’s movie-going experience to bring premium cinematic moments directly into their home,” stated Chris Larson, Senior Vice President, TCL. “Being the number two selling brand of TVs in the United States and one of only three global TV brands with full vertical integration, we are well poised to continue expanding big-screen production capacity for larger televisions with world-class imaging technology and driving deeper success for our home entertainment business overall.”

For gamers, the TCL X9 offers four HDMI ports, one with ARC/eARC audio support and two supporting the HDMI 2.1 spec for “seamless game-play” and low latency, Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Game Mode”.

The company also adds what it calls “Natural Motion 480” motion handling for “smooth clarity during fast action scenes”.

Other picture enhancement technologies in the TCL X9 include Quantum Dot (QLED) wide color technology offering a measured 100% color volume and the DCI-P3 wide color space to preserve artistic intent.

The 85-inch OD Zero’s Contrast Control Zones are said to optimize the image across individual zones for realistic contrast between light and dark areas of each scene. The number of zones was not revealed.

The X9 also employs an HDR Pro Pack that generates high brightness highlights, contrast, and color. Supported high dynamic range (HDR) profiles include: Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG.

Like other 2021 Android TV models TCL introduced in the U.S. several weeks ago, the TCL X9 will be based on the Google TV user interface designed to simplify the search for programs to watch from across a wide selection of supported streaming apps.

Users will be able to easily browse and discover new favorites with recommendations based on previous watch history, saved content and what’s trending and features hands-free voice control from Google Assistant.

The TCL X9 also houses a pop-up camera for big-screen video. The camera descends automatically into the TV cabinet after the call.

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By Greg Tarr

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