TCL Google TVs Aim for Gamers With Smoother, Brighter Pictures     – CNET

TCL Google TVs Aim for Gamers With Smoother, Brighter Pictures – CNET

My favorite TV for the money right now is the TCL 6-Series Roku TV, but the China-based TV giant’s latest lineup of TVs could give it a run for its money. The new models, announced at CES 2023, feature faster refresh rates for smoother gaming, brighter LED and mini-LED backlights for more powerful pictures and the Google TV smart system. 

Most of the details TCL game were on its new QLED TVs but the company also teased an upcoming TV based on Samsung Display’s QD-OLED technology. TCL will sell a QD-OLED TV at some point this year, but that’s about all it revealed — no price, size or feature details yet. 

Samsung and Sony already have QD-OLED TVs, so TCL will be the third maker to adopt the technology, which competes against LG’s OLED panels. In our tests OLED TVs have better picture quality than QLED, and they’re also more expensive, but I’m really curious how TCL prices theirs compared to Samsung. We’ll see.

In the meantime the most intriguing feature is TCL’s new Game Accelerator. It’s designed to provide gamers with higher effective framerates, which could make the action look smoother. It doubles the refresh rate of the panel by cutting the vertical resolution in half. Translation? TCL’s top two new series, the QM8 and Q7, have a 120Hz refresh rate, but with the feature enabled it’s effectively 240Hz with VRR, according to TCL. The step-down Q6, which is 60Hz native, can show games at 120Hz.

I haven’t seen the feature in action yet but if it works as advertised, it could be a cool way to get smoother games, especially if the less-expensive models perform as well as 120Hz native TVs for games. I’m also how visible the reduced vertical resolution will be. 

The TCL Q6 Google TV displaying a woman wearing red.

The TCL Q6 series is the least-expensive to offer Game Accelerator.

James Martin/CNET

The high-end QM8 is available in sizes from 65 to 98 (!) inches. TCL says it’s twice as bright as the current 6-Series at 2,800 nits, which if true would make it one of the brightest TVs available. Equipped with a Mini-LED backlight, the TV has up to 2,800 dimming zones in the biggest model. When I visited their suite at CES TCL’s reps told me that number would be quite a bit smaller on the other sizes, but couldn’t provide specifics yet.

The Q7 will be the least-expensive new model with full-array local dimming, my favorite picture-enhancing extra on non-OLED TVs. It lacks mini-LED, however, so will likely be slimmer than the QM8 and the current 6-Series. The least-expensive model with QLED color and Game Accelerator is the Q6.

None of the new Q TVs offer Roku’s smart TV system, my favorite. Instead, they use Google TV, which is solid in its own right, but more complex and slower, in my experience. Of course, a buyer who wants Roku on a Q could always attach a Roku streaming device and ditch the built-in system.

TCL also announced new versions of its less-expensive non-QLED TVs, called the S4, S3 and S2 models. 

I look forward to checking out the new TCL TVs in person at CES soon. TCL says most of the new QLED models will ship this spring, with pricing to be announced later.

David Katzmaier

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