New TCL 6-Series Roku TVs promise even better picture, start at $650 for 55-inch

For the primary time, mini-LED tech is obtainable in TVs below $1,000.


For the final two years TCL’s 6-Series Roku TV has been the best TV for the money and now the brand new 2020 model, on sale Tuesday, might carry out higher than ever. It provides mini-LED technology for probably higher image high quality as properly gaming-friendly extras like 120Hzvariable refresh rate and THX recreation mode, and in contrast to final yr comes a 75-inch size. These enhancements mixed with an reasonably priced value make the brand new TCL 6-Sequence Roku TV a contender to three-peat as my favourite TV worth.

On the identical time TCL can be introducing the 2020 5-Sequence. It prices lower than the 6-Sequence and lacks mini-LED, however does embody enhancements like QLED and full-array local dimming along with being accessible in a smaller 50-inch dimension. Later this yr, TCL will even launch an 8K resolution model of the superb 8-Series, in addition to 2020 variations of its standard finances 3-Series and 4-Series fashions.

All of those new TCL TVs will proceed to be powered by the Roku TV working system, my favourite sensible TV platform for its simplicity, frequent updates and breadth of apps (Peacock and HBO Max however).

The 6-Sequence is obtainable in restricted portions beginning at present, whereas the 5-Sequence is in shops and on-line now. 

TCL 2020 6-Sequence, 5-Sequence Roku TVs

Mannequin Dimension (inches) Native dimming zones Mini-LED Refresh fee Worth
75R635 75 240 Sure 120Hz $1,400
65R635 65 160 Sure 120Hz $900
55R635 55 128 Sure 120Hz $650
75S535 75 80 No 60Hz $1,100
65S535 65 56 No 60Hz $630
55S535 55 48 No 60Hz $450
50S535 50 40 No 60Hz $400

What do you suppose, Katzmaier?

Usually I embody this part on the finish, however that is 2020 and also you in all probability haven’t got time to learn all of the detailed crap under, so I am placing it proper right here: I will not know for certain till I evaluation them. TCL says I will be receiving a 6-Sequence evaluation pattern to check out in my basement soon.

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What’s that? You don’t want to wait till then? OK, here’s my best advice. 

As always Black Friday season in mid-November will mean steep discounts. I think TCL will drop the price of the new 2020 6-Series a hundred bucks at least, and more for the 75-incher. If you can, wait till then. 

If you want a new TV now, I’m guessing the 2019 TCLs — now available for $800 for the 65-incher, for example, and likely to fall back to $700 or less soon — will be a better deal than the new 6-Series. I honestly don’t think the 2020 improvements (detailed below) will be worth the extra $100 to $200 for most buyers, and the 2019 6-Series will likely perform better than the cheaper 2020 5-Series. 

And then there’s the 2019 8-Series. I’m sure it will be a better performer than the 2020 6-Series overall, and it’s been going on sale recently for steep discounts: as low as $1,000 for the 65-inch size and $1,500 for the 75-incher. Maybe those sales will go away for the next month or two so TCL doesn’t cannibalize 2020 6-Series sales, but if they reappear, for Black Friday or sooner, they make the “old” 8 a better buy than the new 6.

Now without further ado, here’s what else you need to know about the new TCL Roku TVs.


Roku is CNET’s favorite smart TV system.


Mini-LED comes to cheaper TVs

Mini-LEDs are, as you might have guessed, smaller than standard LEDs, allowing them to be grouped into more local dimming zones. Full-array local dimming is the best way to improve picture quality on LCD TVs. It allows the backlight — the part behind the LCD screen that provides illumination — to dim and illuminate different areas simultaneously. Smaller areas, or dimming zones, mean more precise illumination, which ultimately increases contrast, the most important ingredient in a good picture.

Read more: Mini-LED is here: How smaller lights could lead to big TV improvements

TCL is still the only TV maker to use mini-LED technology, first in the 8-Series and now in the 6-Series, but specs on the 6-Series aren’t nearly as impressive. The cheaper 6 has around 1,000 LEDs and up to 240 zones, while the more expensive 8 has 10,000 mini-LEDs and 1,000 zones. For that reason I don’t expect the 6-Series to perform as well as the 8-Series.

TCL says the benefits of mini-LED in the 6-Series include better uniformity, “more powerful” brightness and “higher contrast precision” compared to last year’s model, but didn’t provide any more specifics. How it compares to 2020 competitors such as the Vizio P-Series and Sony X900H remains to be seen. The Vizio actually has more local dimming zones than the TCL — 200 on the 65-inch size — and Sony doesn’t disclose its number of zones, but both cost more than the 6-Series and neither use mini-LED. We’ll have to wait for the reviews to see for sure.


65-inch and larger sizes in the 5- and 6-Series offer two choices in stand leg position: the extreme edge or more toward the middle. 


Improved gaming? Thanks, THX

The other big feature addition is something called “THX certified game mode.” It’s a special picture mode for video games that combines low input lag (TCL doesn’t say how low, however) with features like Auto Game Mode, which turns on game mode automatically when connected to a compatible device, and Variable Refresh Rate, which reduces tearing and other artifacts in some games. The 2019 6-Series had AGM but lacked VRR. 

TCL says the new 6-Series can accept inputs of up to 4K/120Hz and variable refresh rates from 48 to 120 frames per second. Unlike some TVs, it doesn’t support proprietary VRR systems like Nvidia G-Sync (LG TVs only) and AMD Freesync. Of current game consoles, the Xbox One X and One S support VRR and should work with the new 6-Series; the upcoming Xbox Series X and PS5 will also support VRR.

It’s tough to say how much of a practical improvement THX’s special sauce will provide, but the gaming specs of the new 6-Series bring it at least up to par with those of competitors such as Vizio. 

In addition to THX game mode, VRR and mini-LED, the 6-Series has a couple other features not available on the 5-Series:


TCL’s 5-Series lacks mini-LED but now includes local dimming and QLED color.


5-Series gets a bump too

I ignored the step-down 5-Series last year because it lacked full-array local dimming. For 2020, TCL includes that feature as well as quantum dot color, making the 5 a serious on-paper rival to models such as the Vizio M-Series. 

Both the 5- and 6-Series share a new dual-position stand leg arrangement on the 65- and 75-inch sizes that let you place the legs either out toward the edge of the panel or more toward the center. Both also include a cable cozy in the legs that let you kinda hide HDMI, power and other connectors.

Other features common to both series include:

8K 8-Series coming this year

In 2019, TCL said an 8K TV would be coming later in the year, but it ultimately failed to deliver one for the US market. This year it says the same thing. The 8K model will arrive “around the same time” as the new game consoles, said Aaron Dew, TCL’s director of new product development on a conference call with reporters. That pegs the TV’s release date sometime before the holiday season, possibly November.

Dew described the 8K TV as an 8K version of the current 8-Series, so it will likely include mini-LED, high brightness and all of those TVs’ extras at least. The current, 4K version of the 8-Series will remain on sale throughout the year.

3- and 4-Series budget TVs: pretty much the same for 2020

TCL also happens to make some of our favorite budget (read: dirt-cheap) TVs in the form of the 3-Series and 4-Series. For 2020 the company is not changing much. Here’s what TCL’s rep told CNET:

We will be transitioning much of 3- and 4-Series in the coming months. The changes will be minor updates and timing varies by-model. The key difference from S425 [2019 model] to S435 [2020] in 4-Sequence is the addition of an HDMI port (from Three to 4) on 50-inch and above. All different efficiency and specs will stay comparable though cosmetics might be barely completely different. 32S325 turns into 32S335 and 55S425 turns into 55S435, for instance.

It is price mentioning that TCL is presently selling a 2020 version of the 3-Sequence in 32- and 40-inch sizes that runs the Android TV working system as a substitute of Roku. It didn’t announce any further Android-powered TVs for the US market.

I look ahead to reviewing the brand new TCL TVs quickly. Within the meantime, let me know in case you have any questions within the remark part.

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David Katzmaier