TCL makes some our favorite 4K TVs because they're really affordable — most are well-under $1,000 — and they come with Roku's really popular smart operating system built right in. No need to buy an external streaming stick. Here's the lowdown on what they have to offer.
Today, the company makes several different lines of 4K TVs, from the entry-level 4-Series to the high-end 8-Series. All are relatively affordable compared to other 4K TVs made by the likes of Vizio, Sony, Samsung and LG, but each line of TCL's 4K TVs are also very different.
As you go up in price, the higher-end lines have displays with better brightness, color and contrast — many of TCL's 4K TVs have QLED panel, similar to Samsung's popular 4K TVs — and they support more technologies, such as HDR and better modes for gaming.
One important note! TCL just announced its 2021 4k TV lines, so it might be a good idea to wait a little while before actually buying one. You might want to wait for the new features. For example, TCL's 2021 4-Series and 6-Series will be available in 85-inch models for the first time; also, the upcoming 6-Series will support 8K. Or you might want to wait to get an even better deal on a 4K TV from last year.
The 3-Series is the company's line of small and budget-friendly TVs, but they come with a lot of compromises. The big catch is they're not actually 4K TVs; the line is made up of 7020p and 1080p (full HD) TVs, instead. They also do not support HDR. The other thing to be aware of is that TCL offers the 3-Series with two different smart operating systems, Android TV or Roku, so make sure you pick the one that works best for you.
Sizes: 32", 40"
The 4-Series is the company's most entry-level line of 4K TVs and they come in a wide variety of sizes, from 43-inch to 75-inch models. They support some HDR technologies, such as HDR10 and HLG, but they do not support Dolby Vision — you have to go to the 5-Series (or above) for that. Like the 3-Series, you can buy a model that has either an Android TV or Roku smart operating system.
Sizes: 43", 50", 55", 65", 75"
The 5-Series are some of the best budget 4K TVs you can buy and, in our opinion, a significant upgrade over the 4-Series. They have a QLED panel, unlike the traditional LED panel of the 4-Series, which helps the 5-Series deliver a picture with significantly better contrast, brightness and color. They support all the popular HDR technologies, including Dolby Vision. The other thing is that the 5-Series has a higher refresh rate display (up to 240 Hz), which helps combat motion blur while gaming and watching live-action sports.
Sizes: 50", 55", 65", 75"
The 6-Series is one of our favorite 4K TVs you can buy and it's decked out with some meaningful upgrades over the 5-Series. It has a similar QLED display, but it's built with Mini-LED backlit technology; this allows the 6-Series to have control of up to 240 dimming zones (the 5-Series only has control over up to 80 dimming zones), which helps it produce a picture with significantly better contrast and color. For gamers, the other cool improvement is that the 6-Series has a "THX Certified" game mode that prevents latency and motion blue. Additionally, the 6-Series is the first line to support Dolby Atmos.
Sizes: 55", 65", 75"
The 8-Series is the highest-end and most expensive line of 4K TVs that TCL makes. It's only available in large sizes, either 65-inch or 75-inch models, and it's just a little bit better than the 6-Series. Each model looks a little bit nicer (and comes with a cool-looking stand) and the picture quality is noticeably better. It has almost the exact same QLED display, but the big difference is that it can control up to 1,000 dimming zones (as opposed to the 6-Series's 240 dimming zones), so you're getting a picture with significantly better contrast. The 8-Series is the closest to OLED image quality that TCL offers. Like the 6-Series, the 8-Series supports Dolby Atmos.
Sizes: 65" and 75"