12/21/2021: Consumer Alert: TCL Google 4K TVs Are Back At Best Buy
12/10/2021: Consumer Alert! – It has been reported that Best Buy has temporarily pulled TCL Google TV models due to software and performance problems with the Google TV OS. This should be temporary. Stay tuned for additional updates.
The rest of the story below is from the original TCL Google TV announcement on August 11, 2021.
TCL has made a big impact in the U.S. TV market in recent years. With its aggressive pricing, and technology implementations, such as QLED, mini-LED, and affordable 8K, it is one of the top-selling brands available.
TRIVIA: TCL owns the naming rights to the former famed Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
During this time period, TCL also made the bold choice to incorporate the Roku platform into most of its TVs, bringing access to over 5,000 channels of streaming content without viewers having to connect an external streaming stick or box into the TV.
However, TCL has announced that in addition to its Roku TVs, they are introducing a line of TVs that incorporate the Google TV streaming platform instead.
According to TCL, they won’t be discontinuing Roku but just expanding their TV offerings to give consumers a streaming platform choice.
What Google TV Offers
As implemented on select TCL smart 5 and 6-series 4K UHD TV models, Google TV combines the capabilities of Android TV, Chromecast, and Google Assistant into a powerful platform for accessing and managing streaming content.
- Android TV includes lots of pre-loaded streaming services, as well as several thousand more that can be added directly to the TV via the Google Play Store. In addition, Google TV provides direct access to Google Play movies and music, as well as Google Stadia Gaming.
- With Chromecast built-in, you can cast content directly from compatible smartphones instead of having to use a plug-in chromecast media streamer.
- In addition to intuitive onscreen navigation, Google Assistant provides the ability to use voice search to find content, manage apps, control TV settings, answer questions, and control other google-assistant compatible smart home devices. It’s like having a Google Home/Nest built right into the TV. The microphone is built into the TV and is always on but there is a switch on the back of the TV to turn it off if/when desired.
Other Features on TCL Google TVs
Of course, having Google TV built-in isn’t the only reason to consider these sets.
All TCL 5 and 6 series Google TVs support the following advanced features.
- 4K UHD resolution
- QLED: This means the TV features a layer of Quantum Dots that is placed between the LED backlight and LCD display layers to enhance color performance.
- Dolby Vision HDR: Dolby Vision enables the TV to analyze the brightness and contrast in each frame or scene of encoded content and display bright and dark objects more accurately. The 5 and 6 series TVs are also compatible with HDR10 and HLG.
- AiPQ (Artificial Intelligence Picture Quality): A series of algorithms further fine-tunes HDR, upscaling, and contrast in real-time for a more consistent-looking image.
- Auto Game Mode with VRR (Variable Refresh Rate).
The 6-series adds a THX Certified Game Mode and mini-LED backlight with 240 or more contrast control Zones for a more precise display of bright and dark objects. In addition, there are two HDMI 2.1 ports.
TCL Google TV Model Breakdown
- 50-inches (50S546): $699.99 – Best Buy
- 55-inches (55S546): $799.99 – Best Buy
- 65-inches (65S546): $1099.99 – Best Buy
- 75-inches (75S546): $1499.99 – Best Buy
- 55-inches (55R646): $699.99 – Best Buy
- 65-inches (65R646): $999.99 – Best Buy
- 75-inches (75R646): $1299.99 – Best Buy
NOTE: TCL’s recently announced 6-Series 8K TVs will continue to incorporate the Roku Smart TV platform.
How will consumers react to TCL offering different smart TV platforms depending on the model? On one hand, this gives the TV buyer more choice but may confuse some consumers into thinking that TCL TVs include both platforms in the same TV.
There is already a lot for TV buyers to sort out, so it will be interesting to see if they gravitate towards either platform. It also remains to be seen how retailers will handle this; will they end up pushing one Google TV over Roku TV or vice versa?
In the short term it appears that TCL will continue to offer both, but in the long term will there be a “winner”?
NOTE: Currently, Sony is another major TV maker that incorporates Google TV into select models.
Related reading: Best TVs