6 biggest announcements from TCL at CES 2021

TCL 4-Series Roku TV 85S435
(Image credit: TCL)

TCL is going all-out for 2021, with announcements that span across TVs, audio products and even home appliances. While most consumers may be watching for news about TCL's Roku TVs in 2021, the manufacturer's range of products is expanding with smarter gadgets throughout the home.

In today's announcements as part of CES 2021, TCL shared some of the details of the new 2021 TV lineup (including new 8K models and a collection of 85-inch TVs) along with accompanying soundbars, a new smart-home control app and a stylish new air purifier.

Big changes for TCL TVs

The TV maker is going big with its newest smart TVs, with 8K resolution models joining the excellent TCL 6-Series Roku TVs, a collection of 85-inch models at varying price tiers, and a new take on mini-LED design that slims down the bulk of LCD TVs.

The manufacturer's move to mini-LED two years ago paid off with some of the best sets of 2020, and the feature is one that more established players like LG and Samsung are adopting in their own new sets. 

TCL's 3rd generation mini-LED backlighting is getting a design overhaul in this year's TVs with OD Zero, a new design that eliminates the gap between the backlight and the LCD panel, allowing slimmer designs for LCD TVs. 

When combined with the superior contrast control and better HDR performance mini-LED provides over traditional LED-lit TVs, along with TCL's QLED displays, the result should be slimmer, more impressive-looking TVs that have a better picture than ever before.

The TCL 6-Series goes 8K 

Our favorite value TV of 2020 is getting a major 8K upgrade, as TCL has announced that all new 6-Series Roku TVs in 2021 will be 8K sets. 

Like the 4K version (the R635), the new 8K 6-Series models (dubbed the R648) will offer Roku TV with mini-LED backlight, quantum dot-enhanced display and Dolby Vision HDR. However, press images of the new TV indicate a new look, with a redesigned stand and a new chassis marked by a more uniform thickness that will make it easier to wall mount.

TCL 6-Series 8K Roku TV (R648)

(Image credit: TCL)

Never fear, 4K diehards, because the value-champ 4K models from 2020 will continue being sold all through the next year, so you can still get the affordable smart TV with all of its mini-LED and QLED beauty.

TCL says that the new 8K 6-Series models will be available later this year, but specifics on the launch date and what the new 8K TVs will cost have not been announced. 

TCL's XL Collection is huge

In addition to jumping into 8K, TCL is also seizing on the other giant trend in TVs with a trio of 85-inch TVs, dubbed the XL Collection. With bigger-than-65-inch TVs selling better than ever before, the trend toward larger displays isn't going away anytime soon.

TCL XL Collection

(Image credit: TCL)

The TVs in TCL's XL Collection may all be the same size, but they will vary by price, with 85-inch models of the budget-friendly 4-Series (the 85S435, to be specific), an 85-inch QLED TCL Roku TV (85R745) and an as-yet-unspecified 85-inch mini-LED powered 8K TV. 

The 85-inch 4-Series model won't have the fancier features like QLED or mini-LED, but if past models are any indicator, it will still be an excellent 4K TV with solid smart features and basic HDR support.

The TCL 4-Series Roku TV 85S435 will launch sometime this quarter with a suggested retail price of $1,599. While that sounds a little pricey for a line marked by a 65-inch TV for under $500, it does come in as less expensive than even the most affordable 85-inch models on the market.

The second offering, the 85-inch QLED TCL Roku TV (85R745), doesn't seem to be part of any existing model line we know of, though the model number suggests it may be part of a new 7-Series line that sits between the premium 8-Series and value-focused 6-Series Roku TVs. 

Will the new 85-inch 8K model be one of the new higher-resolution 6-Series models? That's not clear from TCL's announcement, but we'd say it's likely. 

No word on pricing or availability for these 85-inch models, but TCL does say that it will be arriving "in the months to follow."

New soundbars to go with the TVs

In addition to TVs, TCL has a handful of audio products it announced this week. The first of these is the TCL Alto R1 soundbar, a wireless soundbar with Roku's WiFi audio streaming tech built in. 

This wireless capability means you'll be able to simply plug in the power cable and turn on the soundbar, which will automatically pair with your TCL Roku TV and open up an onscreen guide on the TV to walk you through any additional steps to connect the soundbar and adjust the settings.

TCL Alto R1 Soundbar

(Image credit: TCL)

Two wired soundbars are also coming, with the TCL Alto 82i and Alto 8e. The TCL Alto 82i boasts built in subwoofers and Dolby Atmos support, along with compatibility with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay devices. No pricing details yet, but the Alto 82i will be coming this fall.

The TCL Alto 8e offers a 3.2.1 sound setup, with the soundbar accompanied by a wireless subwoofer and upfiring speakers, offering more verticality for Dolby Atmos. The Alto 8e is also compatible with various smart speakers and Apple devices, and will be sold sometime during the second quarter of 2021.

New TCL home appliances on the way

TCL Breeva Air Purifier

(Image credit: TCL)

TCL already has a few home appliances on the market, with air conditioners and dehumidifiers already on the market. This year TCL is also announcing the new Breeva Air Purifier. With an eye-catching design and quiet operation, the Breeva uses a three-step purification system to improve air quality in the home, eliminating up to 99.97% of microbes in the air.

TCL also promises the Breeva is the first of several new home appliances this year, with refrigeration and laundry mentioned as areas the company wants to get into soon.

One smart app to rule them all 

TCL Home App

(Image credit: TCL)

Finally, all of these products, from the air purifier to the smart TVs and soundbars, will tie into the new TCL Home App. 

With control options for all of the TCL home comfort appliances and integrated voice control for TCL TVs, the app provides a consolidated control tool for all of its new smart products. And if you want to use the app to let your favorite voice assistant take control, the TCL Home App is also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Brian Westover

Brian Westover is currently Lead Analyst, PCs and Hardware at PCMag. Until recently, however, he was Senior Editor at Tom's Guide, where he led the site's TV coverage for several years, reviewing scores of sets and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI 2.1. He also put his computing knowledge to good use by reviewing many PCs and Mac devices, and also led our router and home networking coverage. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.