For the first time ever, mini LED technology in televisions is available under $ 1,000.


TCLs for the past two years 6 Roku TV was the best tv for the money and now the new 2020 version on sale Tuesday could perform better than ever. It adds Mini LED technology for potentially better image quality and player-friendly extras such as 120Hz, variable refresh rate and THX game mode, and unlike last year, comes a 75 inch size. These improvements, combined with an affordable price, make the new Roku TCL 6 series television a contender for three-port as my favorite television value.

At the same time, TCL is introducing the 2020 5 Series. It costs less than the 6 Series and lacks mini-LED, but it includes improvements like QLED and local dimming with full array available in addition to a smaller 50-inch size. TCL will also be releasing one later this year 8K resolution Version of the excellent series of 8as well as 2020 versions of its popular budget 3 series and 4 series Models.

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All of these new TCL TVs will continue to run on the Roku TV operating system, my favorite smart TV platform due to its simplicity, frequent updates, and breadth of apps (peacock and HBO max in spite of).

The 6 Series is available in limited quantities starting today, while the 5 Series is available in stores and online now.

TCL 2020 6, 5 Roku TVs


Size (inch)

Local dimming zones

Mini LED

Update rate







$ 1,400






$ 900






$ 650






$ 1,100






$ 630






$ 450






400 dollars

What do you think, Katzmaier?

I usually add this section at the end, but this is 2020 and you probably don't have time to read all of the detailed crap below, so I'll put it right here: I won't know for sure until I review. TCL says I will get a 6-pack test device check out my basement soon.

Look at that:

Watch as I set up a TV review lab in my basement


What's this? Don't you want to wait until then? OK, here's my best advice.

As always, the Black Friday season means heavy discounts in mid-November. I think TCL will cut the price of the new 2020 6 by at least a hundred dollars, and more for the 75 in. If you can, wait until then.

If you want a new TV now, the 2019 TCLs – which are now available for $ 800 on the 65-inch, for example, and likely to drop back to $ 700 or less soon – are a better deal than the new 6-series. I honestly don't think the 2020 improvements (see below) will be worth the extra $ 100-200 for most buyers, and the 2019 6 Series will likely perform better than the cheaper 2020 5 Series.

And then there is the 2019 8 Series. I'm sure it will perform better overall than the 2020 6 Series, and that's about it go Recently on sale for huge discounts: just $ 1,000 for the 65 "size and $ 1,500 for the 75". Perhaps those sales will go away for the next month or two so TCL can't cannibalize the 2020 6-series sales, but if they come back for Black Friday or earlier, they'll make the "old" 8 a better buy than the new 6.

Without further ado, here's what else you need to know about the new TCL Roku TVs.


Roku is CNET's most popular smart TV system.


Mini-LED is coming to cheaper televisions

Mini LEDs, as you may have guessed, are smaller than standard LEDs, so they can be grouped into more local dimming zones. Local full array dimming is the best way to improve picture quality on LCD TVs. This allows the backlight – the part behind the LCD screen that provides the lighting – to dim and illuminate different areas at the same time. Smaller areas or dimming zones mean more precise lighting, which ultimately increases contrast, the most important ingredient for a good picture.

Continue reading: Mini LED is here: How smaller lights can lead to big TV improvements

TCL is still the only TV maker to use mini-LED technology, first in the 8-series and now in the 6-series, but the 6-series specs are nowhere near as impressive. The cheaper 6 has around 1,000 LEDs and up to 240 zones, while the more expensive 8 has 10,000 mini LEDs and 1,000 zones. Because of this, I don't expect the 6 to do as well as the 8.

According to TCL, the advantages of the mini-LED are better in the 6 series uniformity, "stronger" brightness and "higher contrast accuracy" compared to the previous year's model, but did not provide any details. Compared to 2020 competitors like that Vizio P series and Sony X900H remains to be seen. The Vizio actually has more local dimming zones than the TCL – 200 on the 65-inch size – and Sony doesn't disclose the number of zones, but both cost more than the 6-series and don't use a mini-LED. We'll have to wait for the reviews to be sure.


65-inch and larger sizes 5- and 6-series offer two options for the standing leg position: the outermost edge or more towards the center.


Improved gaming? Thank you, THX

The other big innovation is the so-called "THX certified game mode". It is a special picture mode for video games that is combined low entry delay (TCL doesn't say how low, though) with features like Auto Game Mode which automatically turns Game Mode on when connected to a compatible device, and Variable update ratewhich reduces tearing and other artifacts in some games. The 2019 6er had a general meeting, but no VRR.

According to TCL, the new 6-series can accept inputs with up to 4K / 120Hz and variable refresh rates from 48 to 120 frames per second. Unlike some TVs, it doesn't use proprietary VRR systems like Nvidia G-Sync (LG TVs only) and AMD Freesync. Of the current game consoles, the Xbox One X. and Ones supports VRR and should work with the new 6 series; the upcoming Xbox Series X. and PS5 will also support VRR.

It's hard to say how much practical improvement the special sauce from THX will bring, but the new 6's gaming specs at least bring it on par with competitors like Vizio.

In addition to the THX game mode, VRR and mini-LED, the 6-series offers some additional functions that are not available in the 5-series:


TCL's 5 series lacks a mini LED, but it now includes local dimming and QLED colors.


5 also gets a bump

I ignored the Step-Down 5-Series last year because it lacked local full array dimming. For 2020, TCL includes this feature as well as quantum dot color, making the 5 a serious rival on paper to models like the Vizio M-series.

Both the 5- and 6-Series have a new two-position leg arrangement on the 65- and 75-inch sizes that allow you to place the legs either towards the edge of the panel or more towards the center. Both also include a cable in the legs that allows you to hide HDMI, power, and other connections.

Further features that are common to both series are:

8K 8 series is coming this year

In 2019, TCL said that an 8K TV would come later in the year but ultimately couldn't deliver one for the U.S. market. This year it says the same thing. The 8K model will arrive "about the same time" as the new game consoles, Aaron Dew, TCL's director of new product development, told reporters on a conference call. This sets the television's release date sometime before the Christmas season, possibly November.

Dew described the 8K TV as an 8K version of the current 8 Series, so it will likely include at least mini-LED, high brightness and all the extras that these TVs have. The current 4K version of the 8 Series will remain in stores all year round.

Budget TVs of the 3 and 4 series: pretty much the same for 2020

TCL also makes some of our favorite budget (read: dirt cheap) TVs in the form of 3 series and 4 series. Not much will change for 2020. Here's what the TCL representative told CNET:

We will be converting a large part of the 3 and 4 series in the coming months. The changes are minor updates and the timing varies by model. The main difference between the S425 (2019 model) and S435 (2020) in the 4 series is the addition of an HDMI port (from 3 to 4) at 50 inches and above. All other services and technical data remain similar, although the cosmetics differ slightly. For example, 32S325 becomes 32S335 and 55S425 becomes 55S435.

It's worth noting that TCL is currently selling a 2020 version of the 3 Series in 32- and 40-inch sizes that will run the Android TV operating system instead of Roku. No additional Android TVs have been announced for the US market.

I look forward to checking out the new TCL TVs soon. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions in the comment section.


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