TCL Adding HDR 10, Dolby Vision To 4K TVs

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TCL is bringing high dynamic range (HDR) and wide-color-gamut technologies to its U.S.-market 4K Ultra HD TVs for the first time with the unveiling of an expanded selection of 4K models.

At CES, the company is launching new 4K smart TVs across the C, P, and S series, all with HDR and Roku OS. TCL is also launching Full HD and HD TVs for a total number of 24 new models.

All models in the C and P series incorporate the HDR 10 and Dolby Vision HDR technologies as well as “advanced phosphor technology,” whose color space “approaches the DCI-P3 standard,” TCL said. The P-series TVs also represents the brand’s first 4K TVs with back-lit local dimming to enhance dynamic range.

The 4K S-series TVs features HDR 10 but not Dolby Vision.

Sizes, Prices: The 4K models in the S series will be available in March in sizes from 43 to 65 inches at prices starting at $369. That series will also include Full HD and HD TVs.

P-series 4K models will be available in April in sizes from 50 to 65 inches starting at $499. And the top-end C series of 4K TVs will be available in May in 49- to 65-inch sizes starting at $599.

Last year, the company unveiled a 65-inch curved X1 TV that featured quantum-dot technology, HDR 10, Dolby Vision, back-lit local dimming, and “near-100 percent” P3 gamut, but the product did not ship.

Roku update: Last year’s P- and S-series 4K TVs ran on the Roku OS smart-TV platform, but all new TVs will use the new Roku 7.5 OS, which pauses live over-the-air programming for up to 90 minutes with the use of a personal USB drive. TCL’s 2015 and 2016 Roku TVs will also get the live-TV pause feature through an automatic software update.

TCL’s Roku TVs access the streaming channels available through standalone Roku streaming devices, delivering more than 450,000 movies and TV episodes.

The S series of 4K TVs is expanding with the addition of two new sizes – 43 and 49 inches – to join the 55- and 65-inch sizes. The new P series replaces a current P series and steps up from the S series to add wide color gamut, back-lit local-dimming zones with up to 72 zones, and Dolby Vision in 50-, 55- and 65-inch sizes.

In its first C series, TCL is launching two models at 55 and 65 inches.

Here’s a closer look at each series:

S series: The value-priced smart 4K TVs come with HDR 10, Creative Pro 4K upscaling, dual-band wireless, and three HDMI 2.0a ports with HDCP 2.2 copy protection. The Roku UI is said to simplify switching from streaming to cable and other devices. It is back-lit but without local dimming.

P series: The step-up series steps up to add Dolby Vision, 72 full-array back-lit local-dimming HDR Contrast Control Zones, and advanced LED phosphors to expand the color gamut to near P3, increase peak brightness, and deliver increased contrast, the company said. The models also come with 4K Creative Pro up-scaling, 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking, a remote with voice search and headphone jack, and three HDMI 2.0a ports with HDCP 2.2. Voice search delivers “unbiased voice searching across many leading channels,” a spokesperson said.

“P-series models will provide among the highest contrast ratios available among Dolby Vision HDR TVs,” TCL added.

C series: The high-end smart-TV series features slim design, Dolby Vision and HDR 10, advanced LED phosphors to deliver a wide color gamut, 4K Creative Pro upscaling, remote with voice search and headphone jack, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and three HDMI 2.0a ports with HDCP 2.2.

Though the C-series does not feature back-lit local dimming, it does feature HDR Dynamic Contrast, which “dynamically adjusts back-light levels for more accurate contrast using metadata available in Dolby Vision HDR content,” TCL said.

None of the TVs is upgradable to add hybrid log gamma HDR, which is expected to be used by cable- and satellite-TV providers and possibly by ATSC 3.0 over-the-air broadcasters. But TCL said it “looks forward to supporting HLG HDR content when it becomes available in the market.”

None is upgradable to add ATSC 3.0, the next generation of over-the-air DTV broadcasting technology. But TCL said all of its 2017 TVs in North America will feature a digital ATSC tuner compatible with current standards.

Last year’s 4K S series consisted of a 55- and 65-inch model priced initially at $599 and $999, and last year’s 4K P series consisted of four models from 43 to 65 inches at an initial $499 to $1,099.

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