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TCL’s Vidrian mini-LED display packs thousands of LEDs into a sheet of glass

While Samsung’s QLED displays continue to do battle with LG’s OLED panels for dominance in the living room, it may be time to welcome a new contender. At CES 2020, TCL has taken the wraps off its Vidrian Mini-LED display technology, which incorporates tens of thousands of mini LEDs into a clear glass substrate. It’s an advancement over the company’s first 8-Series 4K mini LED display, which it introduced in 2019.

“When combined with TCL’s big-screen 8K LCD panels,” the company’s press release reads, “this advanced backlight technology will enable consumers to enjoy immersive entertainment in all lighting conditions, from being enveloped in a movie in the darkest of home theaters to being thrilled by a daytime ball game in a sunlit living room.”

The TCL Vidrian was selected by our editors as the best product in the Video category at CES 2020. Check out more of our Top Tech of CES Award winners.
Best of CES 2020 Video
CES 2020

TCL hasn’t said exactly how its new mini LED technology achieves the benefits claimed. Instead, it draws comparisons to older technology like OLED. “Unlike competing older-generation, self-emissive TV display technologies that struggle with the brightest room conditions or long-term use with game consoles, TCL TVs powered by Vidrian Mini-LED technology will deliver exceptional contrast and powerfully brilliant luminance that are a perfect fit for any TV viewing lifestyle– from cinephiles that crave accuracy and detail to fast-twitch gamers that demand nonstop hours of lightning-fast color, contrast, and clarity.”

We’re curious if the new backlighting technology results in an improvement in off-angle viewing, something the 8-Series mini LED TV didn’t do an exceptional job of delivering.

We also don’t know when we’ll see the first 4K or 8K TV from TCL that makes use of the Vidrian Mini-LED technology. TCL was expected to ship the first 8K Roku TV in 2019, but the company delayed its release until later in 2020 — we still don’t have an exact time frame.

In fact, TCL’s CES 2020 TV announcements have been surprisingly vacant when it comes to any hard-and-fast details. No new TV models have been revealed thus far, and some of the tech the company has discussed, such as improved HDMI features like eARC, are dependent on future updates from Roku.

It promises to add hands-free voice control via Roku, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant when it releases TVs that have integrated microphones this year.

Another enhancement that the company is teasing (but again, with no real specifics for models or release dates) is a partnership with the legendary audio and video company, THX. “TCL and THX will establish a new industry standard in gaming performance for big-screen TVs – THX Certified Game Mode,” the company said.  THX Certified Game Mode delivers fast response time, along with rich, vibrant colors and better contrast using 4K HDR resolution, TCL claims. Pending THX Certification, TCL will be the first to launch TVs with a dedicated “THX Certified Game Mode” setting later this year in North America.

We’re definitely eager to put the new Vidrian Mini-LED display to the test when it finally emerges in a new TV model, but much like TCL’s 8K Roku TV, we’ll just have to wait a little longer until that happens.

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Simon Cohen
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
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