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TCL says its QD-OLED TV teaser from CES 2023 was an error

Just ahead of CES 2023, Digital Trends reported that TCL was intending to ship its first TV based on QD-OLED technology by the end of the year. This reporting was based on information given to Digital Trends as well as many other media outlets both during a private press briefing and in press materials issued ahead of the show. Now, however, TCL is pulling back on those comments.

“A line in the TCL CES 2023 press release confirming plans to launch the brand’s first QD-OLED television this year was incorrectly included,” a TCL spokesperson told Digital Trends in an emailed statement. “TCL is focused on its award-winning mini-LED technology in 2023 – including the recently announced TCL QM8 98-inch TV.”

While this is disappointing news, we can’t say we’re entirely surprised. After reporting on TCL’s stated QD-OLED ambitions, we pointed out that there was a strong chance the company wouldn’t make good on its promise. TCL’s track record hasn’t been exactly stellar. The company said it would debut its first mini-LED OD Zero TV in 2021. Then it said it again at the start of 2022. Now that we’re in the first weeks of 2023, and there’s still no sign that the much-anticipated 8K X9 will ever hit retail.

Perhaps it was simply too good to be true. TCL is known for delivering impressive TVs at rock-bottom prices, so a TCL QD-OLED TV would likely end up costing far less than Samsung and Sony — the only other companies in the QD-OLED game, so far.

We’ve been so impressed by the Samsung S95B and the Sony A95K, that even if TCL can’t perfectly match their level of performance, it should still be leaps and bounds better than any other TCL TV — and probably better than any other TV at its price (whatever that happens to be).

As a refresher for those who haven’t been following the QD-OLED story from 2022, it’s a new type of display technology that merges quantum dots with an OLED panel. The result is an ultra-thin screen that can produce all of the gorgeous, inky blacks of OLED, along with better brightness and more accurate colors.

Samsung Display is the only company that makes QD-OLED panels at the moment, which deepens its competition with LG Display, the only company that makes OLED panels. QD-OLED appears to be superior to OLED, but OLED manufacturing is further ahead, with panel sizes that range as large as 98 inches. That lead may only last for another year. Samsung just announced that will deliver a 77-inch QD-OLED TV in 2023, which means even bigger sizes are likely going to follow quickly.

TCL didn’t give up any specifics on its QD-OLED strategy at its CES event, and now that it has pulled back on a 2023 launch we’re probably not going to get key info any time soon. Specs like price, availability, screen sizes (55- and 65-inch models are all but guaranteed, but what about something bigger?), resolution (likely 4K), smart TV platforms (Roku or Google TV?), and will it adopt the same native 144Hz refresh rate that Samsung has announced for its 2023 S95C QD-OLED TV will all remain speculation for the foreseeable future.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
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