TCL announces new 6-series and 5-series TVs with Google TV instead of Roku

Technology

The Verge 10 August, 2021 - 09:00am 22 views

The company insists this is about choice and says it’s not leaving Roku behind

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But now TCL is taking a step that could dramatically shake up the US TV market: it’s expanding beyond Roku and will release updated versions of its most popular TVs that come with Google TV on board. The software that debuted on Google’s 2020 Chromecast (and also runs on recent TVs from Sony) will now be offered on the latest 5-series and 6-series TVs.

I recently spoke with some of TCL’s executives who made it abundantly clear that the company is not transitioning to Google TV instead of Roku or walking away from its longtime partner. Rather, TCL expects that the TV operating system landscape will take after smartphones and eventually consolidate down to two choices: Roku OS and Google TV. TCL wants to offer consumers the choice of either one, and the existing 6-series and 5-series Roku TVs will remain for sale. That stance seems just a bit dismissive of Samsung’s Tizen and LG’s webOS TV platforms.

The Google TV versions retain the same price points as the Roku models — but there are some tweaks and upgrades since they’re newer hardware. For one, the TCL 6-series with Google TV will be capable of 4K at 120Hz, an improvement over the Roku model, which can only reach 120Hz at 1440p. That’s a big deal for PS5 and Xbox Series gamers. The Google TV version comes with two HDMI 2.1 ports (one of which is eARC), with two additional HDMI 2.0 ports.

TCL is highlighting Google TV’s content-focused interface, which differs significantly from the grid-of-apps Roku homescreen UX. Here’s what the company says the new software offers customers:

With the addition of Google TV, TCL’s latest offerings will also come with notable features like the For You tab where users will find new content based on their interests, across their streaming services; the Watchlist to fine tune recommendations by clicking on content and saving to watch later, even from a browser or phone; and the Live TV integrated channel guide where recommendations for streaming content are visible alongside live program listings. In addition, quickly finding TV shows and movies by title, genre, and even actors, is made possible by pressing the dedicated Google Assistant button on the remote and saying the command; or simply make Google TV the hub of any smart home by easily controlling your connected devices.

Preorders for TCL’s first Google TVs in the US begin today: I’ve included their Best Buy links below. The company tells me that the new 5-series will ship within the next couple weeks, and the 6-series should follow shortly after that. A 75-inch model of the 6-series is expected to come later.

There are upgrades here (particularly on the 6-series) that might push people toward the newer Google TV TCLs instead of the previous Roku sets. But you’ll also have those people who have sworn off ever bringing a TV with microphones into their home — mute switch or not. I’m looking forward to taking a closer look at TCL’s Google TVs in the weeks ahead.

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TCL's 5- and 6-Series TVs are now available with Google TV | Digital Trends

Digital Trends 10 August, 2021 - 09:00am

TCL doesn’t consider these Google TV-powered models as upgrades to its existing Roku TV-powered TVs, but there are one or two differences which we’ll outline below. Here’s the new line-up — all models are available starting today as pre-orders.

Along with the new, content-focused Google TV experience, the new models get access to the Google Assistant in two ways: Built-in far-field microphones on the TVs let you speak hands-free commands that start with “Hey Google,” or you can you the Assistant button on the remote control to trigger the voice assistant manually. Either way, the Google TV models can act as full-fledged Google Assistant smart speakers with the ability to command and control any smart home function (including control of scenes) that you could do from a Google Nest speaker. If you’re not comfortable with the always-on far-field microphones, they can be disabled with a physical switch.

An ambient mode lets you turn these TVs into a Google Photos-powered digital photo frame when you’re not watching TV. And, as with all Google TV-based smart TVs or streaming devices, you can use the Google TV app on your Android phone to view personalized recommendations, watch content, or add titles to your Watchlist.

TCL is also adding two of its own special touches to the Google TV experience. First, TCL will sell you an $80 FullHD USB webcam which you can use to do Google Duo calls from your TV. Several other third-party webcams will work as well. Second, and this appears to be a TCL exclusive, you get kids’ profiles. Parents will be able to limit the time their kids spend watching TV, add parental controls to content, and set schedules for watching.

Both the 5- and 6-Series Google TV models will be the first TCL TVs sold in the U.S. to feature HDR10+ compatibility, in addition to HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. Previous models (including the existing 5- and 6-Series Roku TVs) only offered HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG. HDR10+ adoption has been slow among streaming services and TV manufacturers, but given TCL’s sales clout, its move to include the Samsung-backed alternative to Dolby Vision could signal the start of a big change. The 5-Series also gets the ability to decode and passthrough Dolby Atmos, something the 5-Series Roku TV can’t do.

The 6-Series Google TV is also the first TCL model to boast Dolby Vision IQ, a system that uses a TV’s onboard light sensors to automatically optimize Dolby Vision’s settings based on the changing ambient light in your room.

With the 5-Series, you get up to 60 zones of full-array local dimming (FALD), while the 6-Series bumps that up to 240 zones, thanks to its mini-LED backlighting system that uses thousands of tiny LEDs.

The other major difference between the 5- and 6-Series Google TV models and TCL’s Roku TV versions is support for HDMI 2.1 features. The Google TV models get auto game mode (also known as auto low-latency mode) and variable refresh rate (VRR), but the 6-Series goes further, with two HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K gaming at 120Hz, in addition to a dedicated HDMI ARC/eARC port.

Finally, TCL has added a new stand option to the 55-, 65-, and 75-inch models that let you choose between a wider or narrower stance to help with tabletops that might not be wide enough to accommodate a large TV at its full width.

Along with the new 5- and 6-Series Google TVs announcement, TCL also gave us some more hope that we will soon see its next-generation mini-LED panel, which it calls OD Zero. It will be featured on the next TV to join TCL’s big-screen XL-Series, likely an 85-inch 8K model that TCL will refer to as the X9 or X9 Pro, depending on where you live. TCL expects to show the X9 at CEDIA, a tradeshow that takes place at the end of August, and has plans to sell the new model before the end of the year.

OD Zero mini-LED backlight technology basically sandwiches the mini-LED backlighting system right up against the LCD panel for an incredibly thin profile and better performance.

Copyright ©2021 Designtechnica Corporation. All rights reserved.

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TCL's 5- and 6-Series TVs are now available with Google TV | Digital Trends

MobileSyrup 10 August, 2021 - 09:00am

TCL doesn’t consider these Google TV-powered models as upgrades to its existing Roku TV-powered TVs, but there are one or two differences which we’ll outline below. Here’s the new line-up — all models are available starting today as pre-orders.

Along with the new, content-focused Google TV experience, the new models get access to the Google Assistant in two ways: Built-in far-field microphones on the TVs let you speak hands-free commands that start with “Hey Google,” or you can you the Assistant button on the remote control to trigger the voice assistant manually. Either way, the Google TV models can act as full-fledged Google Assistant smart speakers with the ability to command and control any smart home function (including control of scenes) that you could do from a Google Nest speaker. If you’re not comfortable with the always-on far-field microphones, they can be disabled with a physical switch.

An ambient mode lets you turn these TVs into a Google Photos-powered digital photo frame when you’re not watching TV. And, as with all Google TV-based smart TVs or streaming devices, you can use the Google TV app on your Android phone to view personalized recommendations, watch content, or add titles to your Watchlist.

TCL is also adding two of its own special touches to the Google TV experience. First, TCL will sell you an $80 FullHD USB webcam which you can use to do Google Duo calls from your TV. Several other third-party webcams will work as well. Second, and this appears to be a TCL exclusive, you get kids’ profiles. Parents will be able to limit the time their kids spend watching TV, add parental controls to content, and set schedules for watching.

Both the 5- and 6-Series Google TV models will be the first TCL TVs sold in the U.S. to feature HDR10+ compatibility, in addition to HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. Previous models (including the existing 5- and 6-Series Roku TVs) only offered HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG. HDR10+ adoption has been slow among streaming services and TV manufacturers, but given TCL’s sales clout, its move to include the Samsung-backed alternative to Dolby Vision could signal the start of a big change. The 5-Series also gets the ability to decode and passthrough Dolby Atmos, something the 5-Series Roku TV can’t do.

The 6-Series Google TV is also the first TCL model to boast Dolby Vision IQ, a system that uses a TV’s onboard light sensors to automatically optimize Dolby Vision’s settings based on the changing ambient light in your room.

With the 5-Series, you get up to 60 zones of full-array local dimming (FALD), while the 6-Series bumps that up to 240 zones, thanks to its mini-LED backlighting system that uses thousands of tiny LEDs.

The other major difference between the 5- and 6-Series Google TV models and TCL’s Roku TV versions is support for HDMI 2.1 features. The Google TV models get auto game mode (also known as auto low-latency mode) and variable refresh rate (VRR), but the 6-Series goes further, with two HDMI 2.1 ports that support 4K gaming at 120Hz, in addition to a dedicated HDMI ARC/eARC port.

Finally, TCL has added a new stand option to the 55-, 65-, and 75-inch models that let you choose between a wider or narrower stance to help with tabletops that might not be wide enough to accommodate a large TV at its full width.

Along with the new 5- and 6-Series Google TVs announcement, TCL also gave us some more hope that we will soon see its next-generation mini-LED panel, which it calls OD Zero. It will be featured on the next TV to join TCL’s big-screen XL-Series, likely an 85-inch 8K model that TCL will refer to as the X9 or X9 Pro, depending on where you live. TCL expects to show the X9 at CEDIA, a tradeshow that takes place at the end of August, and has plans to sell the new model before the end of the year.

OD Zero mini-LED backlight technology basically sandwiches the mini-LED backlighting system right up against the LCD panel for an incredibly thin profile and better performance.

Copyright ©2021 Designtechnica Corporation. All rights reserved.

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

These cookies enable the website to provide enhanced functionality and personalisation. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies then some or all of these services may not function properly.

These cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

These cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

TCL's Google TV lineup starts at $599 w/ Kids Mode, QLED, 'Hey Google' privacy switch

9to5Google 10 August, 2021 - 09:00am

- Aug. 10th 2021 7:00 am PT

TCL is best known for its Roku TVs here in the US, but the company has also been selling Android TV models for the past year or so here, and for a while now internationally. Today, TCL is launching its first TVs using Google TV.

The new lineup of Google TV models from TCL land in the company’s 5-Series and 6-Series tiers, making them a bit pricier than the super-affordable 3-Series and 4-Series TVs that many are familar with. Starting from $599, though, these are still on the lower end of the spectrum for 4K QLED televisions.

TCL 5-Series offer four models between 50 inches and 75 inches. The panels offer Quantum Dot and QLED technology for “vivid and saturated” colors and offer 60 zones of local dimming. TCL also offers Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10+ alongside Dolby Atmos support. There’s also Variable Refresh Rate support for HDMI devices such as Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

Meanwhile, the TCL 6-Series offers 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch sizes. These TVs are still 4K, but offer mini-LED display technology that enables “240 Contrast Control Zones” along with Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10+. These TVs also support THX Certified Game Mode and Variable Refresh Rate.

On the software side of things, TCL offers up Google TV just like you’d see it on a Chromecast, based on Android 11 under the hood. All of these TVs have built-in far-field microphones, just like you’d find on a smart speaker or smart display, complete with a physical mute switch on the back of the TV for when you want some additional privacy. Google TV’s Kids Mode is also making its first appearance outside of the Chromecast on these TCL models, as Sony’s Bravia TVs with the same OS lack this feature for now. We’ve also confirmed with TCL that all models support the “Basic Mode” that strips away smart features, should the user desire that.

TCL says to expect 5-Series and 6-Series to start shipping in the US later this month, and in Canada a little while later. Pre-orders are open today at Best Buy. Pricing lands as follows:

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Ben is a writer and video producer for 9to5Google.

Find him on Twitter @NexusBen. Send tips to schoon@9to5g.com or encrypted to benschoon@protonmail.com.

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Tom's Guide 10 August, 2021 - 09:00am

Google TV on TCL's new 5- and 6-Series QLED TVs looks awesome

While TCL has made Android TVs before, that smart TV software is being phased out for the newer Google TV. Compared to Roku TV, Google TV supports more smart home controls and offers integration with the rest of Google's services. The TCL Google TVs will even feature built-in, far-field mics, letting your set act like one of the best Google Home speakers when you say "Hey Google." 

Google TV is the next iteration of Google's smart TV operating system. It's an evolution of Android TV, the platform used by companies like Hisense, Sony and even TCL in the past. But as we’ve seen on this year's Sony Bravia XR A80J OLED, as well on the Chromecast with Google TV streaming device, Google TV feels totally fresh.

The software puts greater emphasis on content rather than apps, and generally improves the Android TV experience with an enhanced user interface organized by recommended or trending content. And by prioritizing Google's own paid live TV service, YouTube TV, Google TV offers a wholistic solution for modern TV viewing.

So what do you get with a TCL Google TV? I had the opportunity to see the 5-Series and 6-Series Google TVs in-person, and it impressed. I could easily add White Lotus, one of the best HBO Max shows now, to a watchlist from a paired phone. I also noticed that 2016 version of Suicide Squad was trending — a film many (including myself) might want to watch since The Suicide Squad remake is finally out.

Also in the realm of content curation, TCL new offerings are the first Google TVs to support dedicated kids profiles. Parents can add select channels and set timers to manage their children's viewing habits.

Previously, you could only find Android TV in TCLs lower-end sets. But soon we’ll be seeing Google TV in an elevated collection of the company’s TVs, specifically the 5-Series (50-, 55-, 65- and 75-inch sizes) and 6-Series (55-,65- and 75- sizes.) The sets start at $599 for the 5-Series and $999 for 6-Series.

In terms of picture and sound quality, you should expect the same QLED experience as with the existing Roku versions of these sets, including the TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635), one of the best TVs for the price right now. You’ll also get your favorite gaming settings, including variable refresh rate and an auto game mode, perfect for your next-gen consoles. 

The important physical difference between a TCL Roku TV and TCL Google TV is the far-field mic. There’s a big emphasis on the TV as a smart home device here, as well as being home. With these Google TV sets TCL is offering an add-on webcam for comfortably videoconferencing from your couch.

All TCL Google TVs are available to pre-order now. TCL has not shared an exact release date for its new lineup, but with pre-orders live, I'd expect the sets to start shipping in coming weeks.

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