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TCL launches its first TVs with Google TV

TCL launches its first TVs with Google TV
(Image credit: TCL)

TCL has released versions of its bestselling 5-Series and 6-Series TVs that run Google TV instead of the Roku operating system. TCL has long offered the Roku platform on its sets, so partnering with Google marks a break with tradition.

It hasn't turned its back on Roku, however. While the press release doesn't mention Roku once, TCL execs speaking to The Verge insist that the current Roku-rocking models will remain on sale. Their game plan? That the TV market will eventually come down to a choice between either Roku or Google TV (just as the smartphone market is now mainly split between iOS and Android). Hence it wants to offer its most mainstream models in both flavours and at the same prices.

As well as the different software, there are some changes in terms of hardware between the Roku and Google TV models. The newer Google TV 6-Series can show 4K content at 120Hz, up from 1440p at 120Hz on the Roku models. The 5-Series sets can't show 4K content at 120Hz, but they do support Dolby Atmos virtual surround sound, which the Roku models don't. Both 5- and 6-Series Google TV models also support HDR10+ (along with Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG, like their Roku counterparts).

Google Assistant comes as standard on both series, and it's operated by an always-listening mic built into the set. Don't want your TV eavesdropping on your conversations? You can disable it with a switch on the back of the TV and operate the voice assistant by holding down a button on the remote.

Google TV debuted on the very well received Google Chromecast with Google TV streaming dongle last year. It offers a streamlined experience that makes it easier to find what you're looking for.

Both the 5- and 6-Series use Mini LED QLED panels with Quantum Dot technology with local dimming zones, and gamer-centric features like Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Game Mode.

The 5-Series ranges in size from 50-inch to 75-inch, while the 6-Series comes in 65-inch and 55-inch sizes – pre-orders are available now from the links below. A 75-inch 6-Series model is also coming in the future.

TCL 5-Series with Google TV

TCL 6-Series with Google TV

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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.