TCL Primes its Premium TVs with Dolby Vision HDR
TCL’s 2017 premium TV lines for the American market – the P and C series – are starting their retail rollout featuring both Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10, as well as the latest Roku TV OS smart TV platform, which provides access to more than 4,500 channels and nearly a half million movies and TV episodes.
The emphasis this year is on what Chris Larson, senior vice president, TCL North America, characterized as a strategy of presenting models with “advanced technologies [that take advantage of our manufacturing capabilities] to grow our large-screen business. We’re changing our go-to-market strategy to deserve that living room - to become a primary brand. We want to get into the main room.”
The TCL P series, due out May 26, consists of 50-, 55- and 65-inch screen sizes at suggested retail prices beginning at $599 and features HDR Contrast Control Zone technology, which moderates backlighting for 72 zones within the panel for highly localized treatment that is said to enhance contrast between bright and dark image areas. These sets also feature Wide Color Gamut NPB Photon technology, whose color palette covers nearly all of the DCI-P3 color standard.
The C series, in screen sizes ranging from 55 to 75 inches, is due out in late June and starts at a price point of under $700. Emphasis in this series has been placed on a contemporary cosmetic and design aesthetic, said Larson. The screens offer a bezel depth of under one-half inch and discreetly situated forward-facing drivers.
Both the P and C series are capable of output of Dolby Atmos audio to speaker systems that are designed to reproduce the technology.
Aaron Dew, director of product development, enumerated some of the differences in this year’s Roku TV platform. Besides incorporating a late-2016 innovation, Live TV Pause, which will pause content streaming for up to 90 minutes, Roku’s mobile app has been updated. Roku’s Version 7.6 will be included on all 2017 TVs, he said. It allows the consumer to name source components for easier identification. Voice control and the lost-remote feature are still part of the system, and Favorite Channels List and 4K Spotlight are features that help aggregate frequently visited or 4K-specific content for viewers – expected to be of special appeal to cord-cutters.
Larson provided Dealerscope with a global overview of TCL and its expectations for future business growth. He reported that 2016 was a good year, with over 20 million TVs shipped – placing the company squarely in the #3 position worldwide. “The secret is vertical integration,” he said, “which gives us advantages in time to market and cost.”
The company is planning a Gen 11 LCD panel factory earmarked for development with a $9 billion investment, which Larson said should make it the largest factory under one roof when it is slated to open in Q1 of 2019. That factory’s business model will include the production of very-large screens: 65- 75-, 80- and 90 inches.’
As for the North American market, the company sold anywhere from 1.7 to 1.8 million TVs last year, and “our business is up in triple digits; we expect to more than double business by the end of 2017,” said Larson. “Our goal is to be the #3 brand by the end of the decade (in the U.S.) and #4 by the end of the year… Our goal is to offer a tremendous amount of technology within a value proposition.”