During its European QLED TV launch webinar last month, TCL emphasised its mission to make premium TV technologies affordable for the masses. To that end it announced the launch of the C71 and C81 4K QLED TVs (officially C815K and C715K) in the UK - which are now available to buy from Amazon and Costco.
With Samsung's 2020 QLED TVs starting from £799 (43in) and LG's 2020 OLED TVs starting from around £1500 (48in), TCL naturally hopes to attract those after premium technology on tighter budgets.
Naturally, both the C71 and C81 4K QLED series feature a QLED (Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode) panel, which has been pitted as a rival technology to OLED TV.
In short, QLED panels are made up of quantum dots (tiny semiconductor particles only a few nanometers in size), which convert a backlight’s white light into coloured light, with the resulting colour being dependent on the size of the quantum dot itself - larger ones give off light at the red end of the spectrum, smaller ones at the blue end. They promise wider colour reproduction than traditional LCD TVs and a higher peak brightness than OLEDs.
Impressively, the C71 and C81 TVs all support the full suite of HDR formats: Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR and HLG. A Smart HDR mode aims to upconvert SDR content, too.
They also run on the Android TV 9.0 operating system (an Android 10.0 update is due later this year), with integrated Freeview Play offering direct access to a scroll-back live TV guide and catch-up apps. Disney Plus, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are all correct and present at launch too, complete with 4K, HDR (including Dolby Vision and HDR10+) and Dolby Atmos playback of each service's compatible titles.
They also feature built-in Google Assistant voice control, which can be activated or deactivated via a button on the back of the set. Amazon Alexa compatibility allows for voice control via Amazon Alexa devices, too.
The main difference between the two ranges: the C81 sports front-firing Onkyo speakers with a rear subwoofer.
The C81 and C71 QLED TV series accompany the recently announced EC78, EP64 and DP60 4K LED ranges and ES5 1080p LED range. TCL hasn't ruled out introducing the more premium 4K X10 to the UK market at a later stage, and there's no word yet on when (or even if) the 8K X91 will reach UK shores.
In recent months, TCL has entered the QLED and Mini-LED TV market. It officially launched its first 4K QLED TV, the X10, during IFA 2019 last September, and at CES 2020 earlier this year unveiled its TCL Mini-LED 8K TV, in addition to a slate of next-gen QLEDs: the flagship 8K X91 (65in, 75in) and 4K C81 (75in, 65in, 55in) and C71 (65in, 55in, 50in) QLED TVs.