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TCL Adds 4K Roku TVs, Expands Distribution

TCL wants to maintain its status as the fastest-growing TV brand in the U.S. by rolling out its first 4K Ultra HD Roku TVs and by spending more on advertising and promotion in the next 90 to 120 days than it did in the past three years combined, said Chris Larson, TCL North America sales and marketing VP.

As part of its sales-growth effort, the Chinese manufacturer plans to expand distribution starting in May, when it will begin selling its 1080p and 4K TVs through 1,800 Target stores. TCL also plans to expand to regional CE retailers later this year. Larson pointed out that the four 4K Roku TVs in the step-up P series “lend themselves to a directed selling floor.”

TCL currently sells through the online stores of Best Buy and Walmart and the brick-and-mortar stores of Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club.

Also to expand its U.S. share, the company is addressing what Larson called “a major miss” in the past: not designing TVs specifically for the U.S. market. Six months ago, TCL North America hired Aaron Dew as director of product development to bring a U.S-focused design and UI to TCL products, Larson said.

To expand sales further, the company will enter the Mexico market in the summer, and “Canada could come this year,” Larson said.

During the past few years the company has focused on expanding sales outside China. The company is the world’s third largest TV maker and third-largest TV-panel maker, he said.

In the U.S., the company tripled its TV sales for the third consecutive year in 2015, thanks to offering “advanced technology, great quality, attractive cosmetics, and great value,” Larson said.

TCL began marketing TVs in the U.S. in 2012, then relaunched the brand more aggressively in 2014. The company began selling its first U.S.-market Roku TVs, all 1080p models, in August 2014. In 2015, it sold more than a million Roku TVs, Larson said.

The TVs, unveiled at CES without pricing, mark the company’s return to the 4K market in the U.S. They will join TCL’s 1080p Roku TVs.

The 4K Roku lineup consists of the 55- and 65- inch S series models at MAP prices of $599 and $999, respectively. The step-up P series consists of four models in 43-, 50-, 55- and 65-inch sizes at $499, $599, $699 and $1,099, respectively.

Amazon will offer the P series this month. Distribution of both series will expand to additional national retailers this month.