When the first Roku TV models were introduced, they seemed like a good idea for those looking for a budget smart TV, but didn’t offer much in the way of picture quality. TCL, one of the fastest growing TV manufacturers in the U.S., is aiming to do away with that notion, bringing a total of 25 new Roku TVs to the North American market in 2017, offering previously high-end features like high dynamic range (HDR), which offers increased contrast and color depth.
“TCL is taking the TV viewing experience to a whole new level with an array of models boasting leading technology like Dolby Vision for the best HDR experience in the market,” TCL North America vice president of sales and marketing Chris Larson said in a statement. “Consumers consistently rank picture quality as one of the most critical factors when it comes to buying televisions and TCL is listening. We believe the importance of HDR will continue to intensify in 2017 and our new TCL Roku TVs will deliver on this technology, allowing us to maintain our rapid growth in the U.S.”
The high end of TCL’s 2017 lineup is the C-Series, which the company refers to as its Contemporary Design models. This series supports 4K resolution as well as both of the two major HDR technologies currently used: Dolby Vision and HDR10. This means no matter what a viewer’s favorite streaming service or Ultra HD Blu-ray player uses, they will be able to view it in all of its glory.
The TVs include three HDMI 2.0a ports, all of which feature HDCP 2.2, and to ensure viewers are able to get the most out of their existing HD content, C-Series models are equipped with TCL 4K Creative Pro upscaling. Both Ethernet and 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking options are built-in, while an enhanced Roku TV remote included in the box features a headphone jack and mic, making for easy voice search and private listening.
The C-Series will be available starting this spring, in sizes ranging from a relatively modest 49 inches all the way up to 75 inches.
The P-Series — which TCL refers to as its Powerful Picture Performance line — boasts many of the same features found in the C-Series, including support for both Dolby Vision and HDR10 content. The same 4K Creative pro upscaling is also included, as is a remote featuring voice search and a built-in headphone jack. The same number of HDMI ports is included as well.
The bulk of the differences seem to come in the design. While both the C-Series and P-Series look fairly slim and unobtrusive, the C-Series offers a more svelte profile, and a slightly more classy look. TCL also mentions the P-series features 72 zones of backlighting, while the number for the C-Series hasn’t yet been specified.
So far, this series is the only one that TCL has announced pricing for, with the 50-inch model launching for $500. This series runs from 50-inch models up to 65-inch models.
Finally, the S-Series is what TCL refers to as its Smart Value line. This series still features 4K resolution and HDR, though unlike the above models, only HDR10 is supported, with Dolby Vision support missing, likely due to the specialized hardware and licensing fees that come along with the technology.
Despite this being the value line, many of the features of the above models are still included, like Creative Pro 4K upscaling. Three HDMI ports are included as well, though TCL hasn’t yet specified if all three support HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2, which are required for HDR.
The S-Series will be available in sizes ranging from 43-inch class to 65-inch class, and will begin shipping in the spring.
All of the TVs above are powered by the Roku OS 7.5 operating system, which offers the ability to pause live over-the-air programming. The integrated Roku functionality also gives viewers access to more than 4,500 streaming channels, as well as more than 450,000 movies and TV episodes.
TCL will be showing much of its 2017 lineup at CES in Las Vegas, which begins on January 5 and runs through January 8. For more information, see the company’s website.