TCL to Focus on 4K TVs: Dropping 8K in Europe

On December 8, 2022, TCL held an NDA-based media event where they detailed the announcements they plan to make at CES 2023. They think 2023 represents their most sweeping TV line up yet. This includes new models and a simplification of their naming scheme. According to the company, they will not market 8K TVs in Europe. That includes the X925 and X925 Pro models. That is a blow to the 8K TV market as TCL is a strong brand that is now pulling back.

Two factors drove this decision. One was the slow development of 8K TV sales, partly due to the higher prices. The second is the new EU energy restrictions which means the X925 models would not pass and could not be sold in the EU.

It remains unclear if 8K TVs will remain in other markets, however. Affected could be the 8K R648 TV sold in the U.S and Canada, plus versions sold in other markets including China. We will update this after CES when we know more.

As a result, TCL will double-down on 4K TV technology focusing on miniLED and quantum dot technology as well as gaming features in their TVs. According to Scott Ramirez, TCL USA’s new Vice President, Product Marketing and Development, TCL’s TV line up will be reorganized into two product families (the S and Q series) with six identities (models).

The S series is a value-oriented family that will offer the S2 (720p); S3 (1080p) and S4 (2160p) series. The S2 will come in 32”, 40” and 43” with HDR10 while the S4 adds Dolby Vision, HDR10+, Dolby Atmos, DTS-X, voice remote and gaming features. All S series TV will be Roku models.

The Q series means quantum dots for wider color gamut – a series they started in 2014. All 2023 models will be 4K resolution with their AIPQ processing engine. TCL said that their 2022 Q series TVs featured 60Hz refresh panels, but 2023 Q series models move to 120 Hz refresh panels (sourced for their CSOT panel subsidiary). A decision on Roku or Goggle OS for the Q series has not yet been made, said the company.

In terms of gaming features, 2022 models offered ALLM, 144Hz VRR support, and AMD FreeSync Pro support. For 2023, TCL introduces what they are calling “game accelerator.” This allows the gamer to be able to choose between resolution and refresh rate. For example, in one mode the gamer can have the full 4K resolution with the native 120 Hz refresh the panel offers. In an alternate mode, the gamer can choose to half the vertical resolution of the display but gain a refresh rate of 240 Hz. This feature works for PC or console-based gaming on the TV. This is an interesting trade-off and it will be interesting to see how gamers react to this capability.

The Q6 series will be offered in 50”, 55”, 65” and 75” screen sizes and is claimed to be 66% brighter than non-QD models.

The Q7 series offers a higher luminance panel with two times the peak luminance and 5 times the dimming zones of the 2022 model. It does NOT use a miniLED backlight.

The QM8 series is offered in 65”, 75”, 85”, and 98” screen sizes and does include a miniLED backlight with a 2X boost in luminance vs. 2022 models. There are 2300 dimming zones – some of the highest available on the market.

Finally, TCL says it will also make a strategic move into the custom install market – the so-called CEDIA channel. To do this, they will add some additional features like IR and RS-232 control.

The company is also planning is first QD-OLED TV that will be launched in the second half of 2023, but it is too early to say more.

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