TCL North America has unveiled new 5-series and 6-series 4K TVs that run Google TV instead of Roku. The new 6-series LCD TVs come with miniLED and HDMI 2.1.
TCL launches Google TVs
At CES 2021, TCL said that it would take its "partnership with Google to the next level" in the US and Europe by introducing its first Google TVs, which is the new user experience on top of Android TV.
It is a big move for TCL who has been the largest and most important Roku TV partner. The Chinese company insists that it remains committed to Roku – its new 8K 6-series still runs Roku – but it is clear that the company is diversifying its line-up.
Also read: Review: Chromecast with Google TV
At the same time, it is a big win for Google who for years has tried to persuade leading TV manufacturers to jump on its platform. Google TV provides access to popular streaming services such as Amazon, Disney+, HBO, and Netflix as well as Google Stadia. It features Google Assistant (with hands-free microphone support in these TCL TVs), built-in Chromecast, and more.
- "With the explosive growth of smart TV and streaming service adoption, TCL is excited to expand our award-winning portfolio with Google TV models in the North American market. Leveraging our vertical integration, massive business scale and innovation advancement to deliver best-in-class products, TCL is further accelerating its industry leadership position with strategic partners like Google at a time when content navigation and discovery are so important," said Chris Larson, SVP for TCL North America.
TCL R646 Google TV
5-series, 6-series TCL TVs
TCL has announced two new TV ranges, the 2021 6-series (R646) and the 2021 5-series (S546). These are mid-range 4K TVs with VA LCD panels powered by the company's AiPQ video engine.
S546 has a zone dimming LED backlight with up to 60 zones whereas R646 has a miniLED backlight with up to 240 zones. In our experience, that is too few to deliver great HDR picture quality but it is more than the average mid-range LCD TV. Both TVs support HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, and Dolby Vision.
TCL S546 Google TV
S546 features standard HDMI 2.0 ports with added VRR, eARC and ALLM support. R646 has two HDMI 2.1 ports for 4K120 support and an expanded VRR range. In addition, R646 has a THX certified game mode but it is unclear what it means exactly.
Also read: HDMI 2.1 explained
More specifications can be found in the TV Database or by clicking on the model names in the table below.
TCL S546 and R646 are available for presale in 50- to 75-inches starting at $700 in North America. They will start shipping soon.