A number of TCL TVs were released throughout 2020, many of which proved you don’t need to pay over the odds for a good new TV. We're hoping the brand will continue the trend of good TV tech packed into affordable TVs throughout 2021 – news that TCL's uber-popular 6-Series TVs will have 8K support already suggests it will.
Over the past few years, TCL has been rapidly taking over the mid-range television space. It’s brought us a range of TV tech, from budget HDR sets to 8K QLEDs. 2020 marked the first time TCL brought QLED TVs to the UK, along with a new 8K TV (the TCL X915) that's now IMAX Enhanced certified.
- Check out the best TCL TVs overall
TCL has held a steady 10 per cent market share of the global LCD TV market for the past couple of years, as one of the largest TV manufacturers alongside Samsung and LG. So it's more likely than ever that you'll come across a TCL TV in your hunt for the perfect home television.
It can be hard deciphering which models are capable of which features, but that’s why we’re here. We’ve got our hands on a number of the new smart TVs from TCL, and can help you narrow down the brand’s ever-expanding line-up to find the TV that’s right for you from the 2020 line-up below and beyond as we look ahead to 2021.
New for US
TCL TV: new for 2021 (US)
What TCL TVs were our favorites in 2020 and which are new for 2021? You'll find them all listed in this guide below, including which territories they're available in.
TCL 5-Series 4K QLED Roku TV (available in 50, 55, 65, 75-inch): More upgrades are coming, with a QLED facelift for the much-loved 5-Series TV range, which has been one of our favorite cheap TVs since its 2018 release. QLED brings an expanded color gamut to the 5-Series at a starting price of just $399.
Read our TCL 4K QLED Roku TV review
TCL 6-Series Mini LED 4K Roku TV (available in 55, 65, 75-inch): One of the TVs we're most excited about this year is the all-new TCL 6-Series QLED TV with Mini LED that should boost the contrast and black levels to rival OLED while retaining TCL's signature budget price point. These TVs went on sale on August 11 2020.
TCL 8-Series Mini LED 8K Roku TV (available in 65, 75-inch): A Mini LED TV, a QLED TV, an 8K TV, and Roku TV all rolled into one. This is an 8K version of the TCL 8-Series launched in 2019, and you can expect quantum dot-assisted contrast, advanced upscaling, improved viewing angles, and Dolby Vision support to boot. Due to launch in the US (and Europe) in 2020.
Read our hands-on TCL 8-Series Mini LED 8K Roku TV review
TCL 2021 TV technology
So what makes a TCL TV... well, a TCL TV?
In recent years, one of the defining traits of TCL TV's is their use of Roku TV, which appears in most of the mid-range models in North America. By leveraging Roku's strengths, TCL TVs have an incredible library of subscription-based streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video.
TCL's focus in 2020 was in enhancing existing TV ranges with QLED and Mini LED technology, as well as pushing further into 8K resolution technologies. TCL co-founded the 8K Association, which works to “define 8K display performance standards and support the outreach and promotion of 8K to consumers and to industry partners, like streaming services."
As its name implies, Mini LED panels pack in more LEDs into each inch of a screen than traditional TVs – over 25,000 in the 75-inch 8-Series Mini LED TV – promising even light distribution, uniform color reproduction and wider viewing angles.
We'll see our first TCL TVs with HDMI 2.1 support, too, enabling 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz video passthrough over cable input.
TCL's QLED (quantum dot) displays support a wide color gamut display, approaching 100% of the DCI-P3 color space coverage. This, alongside TCL’s Mini LED technology, should make for more vibrant colors, heightened contrast, and better viewing angles.
In 2019, TCL also launched a new AI smart platform, TCL AI-IN, and it’s working to integrate its smart AI-powered products with partners like Android TV, Roku (in North America only), and Amazon Alexa.
TCL continues to work on a number of more unusual form factors, like massive curved screens and concrete subwoofers, though most don't make their to market – especially Western ones.
What we're most excited about for 2021 is 8K. Earlier this year TCL announced that its uber-popular 6-Series TVs will have 8K support.
TCL's 6-Series TVs have gained popularity in the last few years and have long-offered cutting-edge features like full-array local dimming, quantum dot and, as of last year, Mini LED as well, and now you can add 8K resolution to the list, too.
Though TCL hasn’t announced the pricing of the new 2021 R648 models, if past years' models like the TCL 6-Series R635 are anything to go by, we’re about to see a sub-$1,000 8K TV sometime in the next 12 months.
TCL TV: new for 2020 (UK)
Reading in the UK? Here's our pick of the best sets of 2020, as well as the flashy new sets coming your way this year.
TCL C71 QLED (available in 50, 55, 65-inch): The first TCL QLEDs to hit the UK start with the C71, a 4K HDR television running on the Android TV OS. Featuring a "frameless", zero-bezel design and adjustable TV stand, along with multi-HDR support and voice assistant integration, it has the trappings of a high-end television but starts at just £499 for the smallest 50-inch model. Now available in the UK.
TCL C81 QLED (available in 55, 65, 75-inch): The C81 takes things up a notch with an Onkyo soundbar and Dolby Atmos support, but otherwise cleaves pretty close to the C71. Now available in the UK.
TCL X915 8K QLED (available in 75 inches): This 8K TV is IMAX Enhanced certified, meaning you can watch compatible films in an IMAX aspect ratio and crisp 4K HDR picture. There's no release date for the UK yet, though, so hold tight to find out when it's announced. (It's currently rolling out to the rest of Europe and Australia, though.)
TCL P715K 4K TV (available in 43, 55, 65, 75-inch): This 4K TV starts at just £379 for its smallest 43-inch size, and comes with support for hands-free voice control through Alexa. Releasing in September, with the 75-inch model following later in October.
TCL X10 QLED (available in 75 inches): At CES 2019, we discovered that the 8K 2019 TCL Roku TV (or TCL X10 QLED outside the US) boasts QLED and mini LED technology for improved picture quality. Specifically, these smaller LEDs offers more local dimming, with 300% more contrast control zones compared to its last-generation sets.
This creates deeper blacks, more vibrant colors and, most importantly, better viewing angles. Support for 8K, Dolby Vision, and Quantum Dot display technology should make for an impressive picture, particularly in the flagship 75-inch model.
It also has an integrated Onkyo soundbar, which supports Dolby Atmos, and is 14.5mm at its thinnest point.
TCL 8-Series (available in 75 inches and larger): The forthcoming TCL 8-Series 8K Roku TV takes a lot of what we liked about the TCL 6-Series 4K Roku TV and quadruples the pixel count while slimming down the thickness. At the starting size of 75 inches, it's a sight to behold.
Like the 2019 TCL Roku TV, the new 8-Series has QLED and mini LED technology for a clear, precise, and vibrant display. The TCL 8K TV also supports a wide color gamut display, approaching 100% of the DCI-P3 color space coverage, Dolby Vision, and more of the ultra-contrast control zones tech we've seen on TCL's higher-end 6-Series televisions.
The 75-inch flagship model can skillfully convert today’s 4K and full HD resolution content and delivers a new sense of depth and clarity, says the company. It'll also be future-proofed for when native 8K content does get here thanks to HDMI 2.1 support.
Like the 2019 TCL Roku TV, it has a built in Onkyo soundbar with Dolby Atmos support.
TCL 6-Series (2019)
TCL 6-Series (available in 55, 65, and 75 inches): 2018’s TCL 6-Series has been updated to include a new 75-inch model for 2019. Models in the 6-Series boast three types of HDR support, Roku TV, and copious amounts of LED control zones.
The TCL 6-Series is available now, at a special pre-order introductory price of $649 for the 55” (55R617), $999 for the 65” (65R617) screen size, and $1800 for the 75” (75R617).
Model numbers: 55R617, 65R617, and new for 2019, the 75R617
TCL 5-Series (2018)
TCL 5-Series (available in 43, 49, 55, and 65 inches): 2018 saw the launch of the TCL 5-Series, a little brother to the 6-Series that packs many of the same features. You can expect HDR Pro Gamma and support for the three main types of HDR, plus Wide Color with NBP Photon technology and Roku TV built-in. As far as motion is concerned, the 5-Series has 240 Natural Motion technology … which probably equates to a native refresh rate of 120Hz.
The TCL 5-Series is available now at $429.99 for the 43” (43S517), $449.99 for the 49” (49S517), $499.99 for the 55” (55S517), and $899.99 for the 65” (65S517).
Model numbers: 43S517, 49S517, 55S517, 65S517
Everything you need to know about the best TVs to look out for in 2021:
Philips TV 2021: everything new this year
LG TV 2021: every new LG TV for 2020
New Samsung TV 2021: every QLED, LED, and designer TV
Panasonic TV 2021: what's new with Panasonic?
Hisense TV 2021: are laser TVs and DualCell worth a look?