AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support is coming to select TCL Roku TVs, while HDMI eARC will be enabled on 2019 8-series, 6-series, and some 5-series TVs. VRR will be supported on a single model.
TCL TV updates
As announced at CES 2020, TCL USA is bringing new features to its 2019 TVs via a software update, specifically the Roku OS 9.4 firmware update that will roll out in the US over the coming months.
2019 TCL 8-Series, 6-Series, and some 5-Series TVs will gain new HDMI features.
- "2019 TCL Q82X, R62X, and 55/65S52X models will also support eARC once updated to OS 9.4. eARC allows higher bandwidth audio to be delivered to compatible audio equipment connected to your TV. The new release will also enable VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) on the 2019 TCL 55R62X model for enhanced game play with compatible game consoles and games," the company said.
Also read: List: 4K TVs and 8K TVs with HDMI 2.1
The 55-inch TCL 6-Series R625 will gain the most features
Not announced at CES 2020 was the addition of Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities. TCL says that "we're expecting to deliver Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities on select 4K TCL Roku TVs later this year", without specifying compatible models. It is a component of Roku's partnership with Apple.
TCL has also promised to bring 120Hz HDMI support to 2020 models with HDMI 2.1 ports and HGiG support to some TVs. Those features will arrive with separate updates.
The new features are rolling out as part of the Roku OS 9.4 firmware update that will also include a Live TV Channel Guide, Surround Level Control for Multi-Channel Audio, and Roku Channel enhancements.
Full details of the update are included below, and the TV Database has been updated accordingly (refresh product pages if you are not seeing the new features listed).
TCL 2019 TVs with the new features
TCL update (Roku OS 9.4)
In the company's own words:
AirPlay 2 and HomeKit
To start, we are excited to announce that we're expecting to deliver Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities on select 4K TCL Roku TVs later this year. With AirPlay 2, Roku customers can stream, control, and share their favorite content directly from their iPhone, iPad, or Mac to their supported 4K Roku devices and bring the experience to the big screen. HomeKit will allow customers to easily and securely control their Roku device using the Home app and Siri on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, or HomePod. Watch out for both, which will be rolled out later this year!
Navigation & ControlsLive TV Channel Guide: TCL Roku TV users will be able to access The Roku Channel's Live TV Channel Guide directly from their home screen by selecting the "Live TV" input tile. This gives them one-click access to an easy to use program guide consisting of more than 115 free live streaming TV channels in addition to the free OTA channels they already have access to if they have an antenna connected.
Helpful Hints for Roku Voice: Helpful hints will appear directly on the user's TV screen to inform them of voice commands they can use on their Roku device either through their compatible voice remote or the Roku mobile app. These hints are designed to help users enjoy quick, simple control of their Roku device using a wide variety of voice commands.
Surround Level Control for Multi-Channel Audio: Users of Roku audio products who have a multi-channel speaker configuration will be able to adjust the volume of their rear surround speakers relative to the volume of their soundbar to match their personal preference.
The Roku ChannelThe Roku Channel Free Mobile App for iOS and Androids smartphones: In addition to the free Roku mobile app, the all new dedicated mobile app for The Roku Channel delivers free and premium entertainment for all; viewers can now enjoy a wide variety of free on-demand entertainment, live TV, news and more, as well as access to their Premium Subscriptions (for those who sign up via a Roku device or via www.therokuchannel.com).
More Free Linear Channels for Users: The Roku Channel is expanding its free live/linear channel lineup in the U.S. with new channels, such as Cinedigm's Bloody Disgusting TV, The Craftistry from Studio71, Circle, HappyKids.tv, Hi-YAH! - The Martial Arts Channel, iFood.tv, The LEGO Channel, Maverick Black Cinema, MOVIESPHERE, Skills + Thrills, VENN, Weatherspy, as well as a variety of Spanish-language entertainment including Sony Canal Comedias, Sony Canal Compentencias, Sony Canal Novelas from Sony Pictures Television and Tastemade en Espanol.
Additional updates in Roku OS 9.4 include:Updated Theme Packs: allow users to customize their home screen and screen saver with a variety of fun themes such as Jungle, Western, Nautical, Kids, etc. and will now feature corresponding audio tones when users press various buttons on their Roku remote that match their chosen Theme Pack.
eARC and VRR: 2019 TCL Q82X, R62X, and 55/65S52X models will also support eARC once updated to OS 9.4. eARC allows higher bandwidth audio to be delivered to compatible audio equipment connected to your TV. The new release will also enable VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) on the 2019 TCL 55R62X model for enhanced game play with compatible game consoles and games.
In terms of availability, Roku OS 9.4 will begin rolling out to Roku TVs in phases over the coming months