TCL is bringing multiple soundbars and new display technology to its home entertainment lineup this year.
TCL announced this week its third generation of mini-LED backlighting with the new OD Zero mini-LED, so called for the zero millimeters between its LCD panel and mini-LED backlight layers. More exciting to fans of the 6-Series who may be looking to upgrade, however, is that TCL’s 2021 models with Roku TV will launch with support for 8K. Its current 6-Series models with 4K will continue to be available for purchase, the company said.
It’s tough to know without a demo whether TCL’s 8K TVs will pass the upscaling test, but including it on one of its more affordable TVs is a promising step in bringing 8K to a wider swath of consumers—even if there’s virtually no 8K content out there yet.
And as for you monster screen enthusiasts, the company also announced its new aptly named XL Collection for 85-inch displays. This gargantuan display size will be available on three models: an 8K QLED TV, 4K QLED display with Roku TV, and a 4-Series with Roku TV. The XL displays will be available to order later this year, with the 4-Series (85R435) priced at $1,600. Prices for the other two sets in the collection will be revealed at a later date.
On the home audio front, TCL is also announcing a few upgrades to its Alto line of soundbars, including a wireless Alto R1 that automatically connects to TCL’s Roku TVs. Essentially, it means no extra remote and no need to hook up an HDMI cable to the TV. TCL soundbars are already pretty easy to set up with their Roku TVs, but this is great news for everyone out there losing their remotes in the couch cushions.
As for Dolby Atmos options, TCL has not one, not two, but three soundbars slated for 2021. The Alto 82i will support both Alexa and Google Assistant and AirPlay 2, and comes with two built-in subwoofers. It’ll be interesting to see how well the 82i handles Atmos, as single soundbar solutions tend to stumble when it comes to recreating height. Meanwhile, the Alto 8e will be a 3.2.1 channel setup with a subwoofer and up-firing speakers. This has the same voice assistant and AirPlay compatibility, but also adds Spotify.
While the 82i will be out in Q3 and the 8e is slated for Q2, TCL hasn’t spilled the beans on prices just yet. As for that third Dolby Atmos soundbar, TCL didn’t say anything other than it would be “premium.” Consider our interest piqued.