TCL formally launched the 2020 versions of its popular 5 and 6 series 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD Roku TVs, both of which include quantum dot color enhancement technology and in certain models new lower price points and high value performance levels for TCL’s Mini-LED back light technology.

As first revealed at CES 2020 in January, the 6 series models, which now add mini-LED back lighting, have also been developed in conjunction with THX for advanced video gaming performance when paired with forthcoming next generation video gaming consoles like Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. The line will be the first televisions to carry the new THX Game Mode Certification, ensuring optimal high frame rates, HDR, advanced color and interoperability performance from the latest gaming platforms.

Models in the 6 series go on sale later this month at authorized TCL dealers around the country including the 55-inch 55R635 ($649.99 suggested retail), 65- 65R635 ($899.99) and 75-inch 75R635 ($1,399.99) screen sizes. The TCL 5-Series models — including the 50- ($399.99 suggested retail), the 55- ($449.99), 65- ($629.99) and 75-inch ($1,099.99) sizes — are available starting today.

The quantum dot technology (aka QLED) in both series—TCL is offering QLED in three of five TV series this year–will present a wider color gamut for presentation on the 4K LCD screens. It also utilizes the high brightness levels of the new televisions to produce high levels of color volume for the most realistic hues as affected by sunlight.

“With more people relying on their TVs more than ever before, TCL is proud to have an advantage in manufacturing high quality televisions packed with the latest technology. As a vertically integrated company, we can use those advantages to continue bringing premium products –like the 5-and 6-Series –to market at a value that can be appreciated by us all,” said Chris Larson, Senior Vice President, TCL. “As consumers are enjoying ever-larger screen sizes, picture performance is becoming even more important.”

Both the 5 and 6-Series Roku TV models support high dynamic range (HDR) from content offering the HDR10 (static metadata), HLG (live HDR) and Dolby Vision (dynamic metadata) profiles. These are said to provide natural looking color and light grading attributes. TCL calls this profile trio an “HDR Pro Pack,” that allows “striking brightness, incredible contrast, and amazingly lifelike color.”

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4K/HDR picture processing is also driven by onboard, chip-level machine-learning algorithms that match and adjust images against thousands of reference samples that align with human visual perception. TCL’s AiPQ Engine is said to optimize color, contrast and clarity using three core picture quality algorithms, including: Smart HDR for vibrant color, Smart 4K Upscaling for sharp clarity and Smart Contrast for depth.

Roku Smart Features

The latest TCL Roku TV models also include more versatile “Easy Voice Control” to quickly and easily search for favorite programs using spoken search cues for things like actors’ names, directors and titles.

The 6 Series models include a voice (embedded mic) remote in addition to the free Roku mobile app (for iOS and Android devices) to pick up voice input for easily browsing through the Roku platform’s access to hundreds of thousands of available movies and programs from diverse app partners. The 6 Series remote also offers Roku’s “private listening mode,” that allows connecting a set of headphones or earbuds to the remote to listen to the TV sound without disturbing others in the room.

The Roku OS in both series receives regular automatic software updates to add new features and functionality over time including the new Live TV Channel Guide, available in The Roku Channel to easily find and watch live TV programs, in addition to Spanish language Roku voice support.

6 Series Features

TCL’s 6-Series models include mini-LED direct back light technology for the first time. The technology uses thousands of tiny LEDs laid out across 240 “Contrast Control Zones” (in the 75-inch model) also known as dimming zones that provide localized control of light output for deep black reproduction and visible shadow detail. TCL said this technology also significantly reduces blooming/haloing conditions that impact contrast performance in back-lit display technologies, like LCD.

TCL said the 6-Series “micro-meter class mini-LED back lights,” which first appeared in TCL 8-series models late last year, though greater numbers, provide new levels of LCD picture depth and dimension.

The 6 series models offer a brushed metal cosmetic design that is “configurable for installation in any home theater or gaming room.” This includes two sets of stand-mounting positions in 65- and 75-inch models to accommodate tables and credenzas of varying lengths. This year’s sets also allow for cable management integrated into each TV leg to hide wires and power cords.

For onboard sound, TCL said the 6 series models also support decoding for Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound, offering a wide sound stage for greater immersion into the action.

As mentioned, TCL’s 6-Series televisions include the new THX Certified Game Mode that fine-tunes both cinematic experiences and gaming experiences on big screen displays. This is said to present an “impactful image without any compromise in ultra-low-latency gaming display.”

This THX program was described by TCL’s Product Planning Director Aaron Dew as “both a picture mode and a certification that assures the TV can deliver a really great picture without any compromise in responsiveness.” Customers will have the option to set the television into the new THX Certified Game Mode or allow the set’s auto low latency mode (ALLM) to automatically put the television into Auto Game Mode when it detects an incoming signal from an ALLM-supporting game console.

Sets in both series support a combination of open standard Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) — the similar proprietary FreeSync and G-Sync systems are not specifically supported but may work with VRR in some cases — up to 120Hz refresh rate and the mentioned “Auto Game Mode” features for a smoother, optimized gaming experience, without the need to manually set the television for a gaming picture mode. TCL executives assure the TVs will exhibit fast responsiveness with minimal input lag and no frame tearing from content when used with supporting gaming platforms.

TCL said models in both series will support a number of HDMI 2.1 features including Enhanced Auto Return Channel (eARC). As mentioned, the THX-Certified 6 Series will also support Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate.

5 Series Features

Meanwhile, the new TCL Roku TV 5-Series has been improved with the addition of QLED color and TCL’s “Contrast Control Zone technology,” with 80 zones of LED dimming for what TCL calls a premium level of picture performance at value pricing. The 5 Series models feature TCL’s “FullView” bezel-less cosmetic design, HDR Pro Pack, and Auto Game Mode (ALLM).

TCL said the implementation of Contrast Control Zone technology in this series affords “precision accuracy with deeper darks to astonishing brightness.”

The “bezel-less screen design” also allows for 2-position stand mounting to feet table/credenza surfaces of varying lengths for the 65- and 75-inch screen sizes. The design also accommodates cable management to hide power cords and connecting cables in the stand feet.

TCL’s Larson said the company still plans to introduce the next level in 8 Series TV for 2020, which will feature 8K resolution for the first time and will use the company’s latest advancement with “Quantum Contrast” and back lighting with more than 25,000 mini-LEDs called Vidrian, as previously announced at CES 2020.

Details on that line will be released closer to the introduction date later in the year.

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By Greg Tarr

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