TCL takes a lesson from Samsung, with QLED and 8K TVs for the UK

(Image credit: TCL)
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TCL has now launched a number of new televisions for UK shoppers, including two premium 4K QLED TVs taking on high-end sets from the likes of Samsung.

The new range includes the C71 QLED, which echoes Samsung’s flagship 8K QLED for 2020, the Q950TS, in pursuing a “frameless” design to accentuate the size of the screen. It's available in 50-inch (£499), 55-inch (£599), and 65-inch (£799) sizes.

The C81 QLED (55-inch and 65-inch – with a 75-inch model coming later in the year) has a similar frameless design, while ramping up the audio with a front-firing Onkyo soundbar and subwoofer built into the set itself. The C81 also comes with Dolby Atmos support. It's available in 55-inch (£649) and 65-inch (£849) sizes, with a 75-inch model coming later in the year.

Both new models support hands-free voice control through Alexa and Google Assistant, are compatible with HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG HDR formats, and come with adjustable stands to make them easier to fit in your home. The C71 and C81 run on the latest iteration of the Android TV smart TV platform too, with updates planned as newer versions of the platform are released.

8K is on the way

The new QLEDs mark a significant push from the Chinese manufacturer, given we only saw a single TCL TV launched in the UK back in 2018.

TCL has been a cheerleader for QLED panels for some time now, as with its 6-Series QLED and X10 QLED displays showcasing the company’s belief in quantum dot technology. 

In a press briefing for the 2020 range, Director of Product Development Marek Maciejewski spoke to QLED’s “color reproduction, color volume, and ability to really cover 100% of color volume” – echoing previous comments on the technology’s perceived advantages over OLED TVs. (For a fair comparison, check out our OLED vs QLED guide.)

But TCL has made it clear that its ambitions include 8K as well as QLED, aligning closely with Samsung’s leading technologies, but at what will likely be a consistently lower price point. Whether the QLED performance is as advanced as Samsung’s, though, is another matter.

We expect to see TCL's X915 8K model later this year – date "TBC" – with a single 75-inch size, a front-firing soundbar, and even a built-in camera to support video calls and conferencing.

TCL has shown off a number of 8K models at trade shows for the past few years, but was previously “not ready to launch”, according to a spokesperson for the company – who said that, “now we feel we have the right products, that we can price at the correct value for the market". 

"However" they continued, "we still feel [8K] is going to be a small part of the market. 8K is currently just over 1% of the market, so we expect it will take a couple of years to really grow.”

Henry is a freelance technology journalist. Before going freelance, he spent more than three years at TechRadar reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines also include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.