CES: TCL’s 4K 6- and 5-Series Pack Dolby Vision HDR, Enhanced Roku
TCL, riding the wave of a growing North American presence which Chris Larson, senior VP, sales and marketing, said had placed it as the Number Two TV brand in the U.S. “smart TV” category through Q3 2017, with a 15 percent market share, has just unveiled at CES 2018 its 6-Series and 5-Series televisions. Both series support Dolby Vision HDR technology and, through a software upgrade later in 2018, will offer a more versatile iteration of the Roku TV platform than last year, adding Roku Connect and Roku Entertainment Assistant capabilities. Roku Connect will enable the sets to easily connect to other A/V devices in the Roku ecosystem like soundbars and speakers, and Roku Entertainment Assistant will let viewers launch all manner of content with a voice command.
By the end of 2017, TCL had achieved a #4 position in U.S. TV brand share, and Larson said the company’s goal was to be one of the top three brands in America by the end of the decade.
Both HDR 10 (open HDR) and Dolby Vision are supported by TCL in 2018, said Aaron Dew, TCL North America’s director of product development, in describing features of the introductions both at CES and at a pre-CES briefing.
The first half of 2018 will see the debut of the 6-Series, an evolution of the company’s P6 line in 65- and 55-inch sizes. The Dolby Vision HDR TVs’ HDR Performance Package Pro set features the following: Contrast Control Zone technology – a local dimming solution that ups the zone number to 96 from 72 on the smaller set and to 120 zones on the larger, the iPQ engine (eliminating the need for custom tuning); and HDR Pro Gamma tone map technology, for more accurate detail reproduction. Other enhancements are Wide Color with NBP Photon Technology, 240 Natural Motion technology for a smoother image, and the aforementioned Roku TV enhancements. Pricing for the 55-inch is $649, unchanged for the model it replaces. The sets also come with Roku TV voice remote controls.
The Dolby Vision HDR-endowed 5-Series in 43-, 49-, 55- and 65-inch screen sizes, meant to address the needs of mainstream consumers, carries some identical features but has an HDR Performance Package set that substitutes HDR Dynamic Contrast – which uses information embedded in Dolby Vision content for heightened picture performance – for the 6-Series’ Contrast Control Zone technology, and will offer the 240 Motion technology on the top two screen sizes only. The pricing on the 55-inch in this series will be “below $500 – an aggressive mainstream price point,” said Dew.
TCL has also announced plans to bring to market the Alto soundbar family in both standard and “smart” solutions. With Roku, it introduced the Alto-line TCL Roku Smart Soundbar, due out in late 2018; it is the first device to launch from Roku’s newly announced Whole Home Entertainment Licensing program.
TCL demos at CES Central Hall booth #12929, it was disclosed at the pre-show briefing, will include run-throughs of the Voice Assistant features; a Quantum Dot on Glass technology announcement that Dew said would be “a way to bring Quantum Dot technology to more mainstream prices” was also planned for CES revelation.