TCL, which boasts a position as the #2 smart TV brand in market share in America after 51 months on the U.S. market stage, according to Senior VP TCL North America Chris Larson, is now entering the home and personal audio categories in the U.S.
The announcements came at CES 2019, where the company also alluded to new technologies being developed with partner Roku. These include the first-ever 8K TCL Roku TVs, which it says will support the latest HDMI standards and upscaling technology for display of 4K and Full UHD content. TCL said it plans to have 8K technology represented in 75-inch-and-larger TVs. Aaron Dew, director of product development at TCL North America, said that TVs will be ready for the next stage of 8K development.
He added that the company’s market position as an affordably priced TV brand “accessible to the mainstream TV shopper” positions it well for future TV sales growth. He cited statistics claiming that 99 percent of U.S. TV sales are at price-points under $2,000 with just one percent over $2,000.
On the company’s decision to enlarge its footprint in the U.S. by entering the audio and headphones business, Kevin Wang, senior VP of TCL Corp. and CEO of TCL Electronics, said TCL has established a division called TCL Entertainment Solutions. With regard to expansion into headphones, Wang stated that “we are no longer only a stay-at-home brand.”
At a pre-CES briefing, Larson said the move into audio categories would be “strategic.” Headphones and sound bars will see retail deployment in Q1, he said.
The strategy for headphones, it was revealed at the earlier briefing by Michael Davies, global business leader, headphones at TCL, will be to make sure to address “new consumers” – read: young demographics, and to grow the brand with “emotive products – high value, high quality, highly relevant.”
The four headphone lines announced range in style including in-ear and over-the-ear and are each targeted with features for specific consumer profiles; they are: SOCL (age range: 12-25 group; focus on “fun, colorful”), MTRO (18-30 group; “sound, style, simplicity”), ACTV (25-50;”fitness, comfort, style”), and ELIT (25-50; quality, design, technology”).
The sound bar line that is coming is called Alto and will include a model for 43-inch-and-larger TVs (Alto 5) and one for 55-inch-and-larger sets (Alto 7). Both will be available in two-channel and 2.1-channel “+” versions which will include a wireless subwoofer.