TCL were all about making life intellegent, and they didn’t waste time into jumping into some of the new features that are on their way. Introduced by Harry Wu, the vice president of TCL, were the TCL Home which enables TCL products to communicate with eachother and existing devices, very much like a smart hub, as well as their TCL Store, which is designed to connect TCL customers with after sales support. These will be launching in select markets at first, and they didn’t specify which markets they were going to be.
The Alto 9 Plus soundbar was the first audio/visual product announcement out the gate and it was one that left me feeling a little confused. They said it is compatible with Atmos and Raydance technology, which is pretty simple. But then TCL went on to say that they wanted to make connectivity easier, and complained about HDMI Arc being complicated, which for those of you who don’t know stands for Audio Return Channel. It requires one single HDMI cable from the soundbar to the TV. Apparently that’s complicated bit. But… TCL then proceeded to say that the soundbar needed one single HDMI cable from the Arc Return channel to the TV. I’m sorry… what?
This apparently though activates the Roku TV Ready program. Which seemed like a posh way of saying the content’s audio that you watch on your TCL TV and soundbar will come out of the soundbar.
They rounded off by saying that ALL TCL soundbars, with ARC capability will include the Roku TV Ready function. So it’s basically like when you buy a Samsung TV and Samsung soundbar, and the TV remote controls the soundbar volume and your content’s audio comes out the Samsung soundbar? Am I excited about this? Not really. Now wireless TCL soundbars working with TCL TVs so you didn’t have to use any HDMI cables would have been cool. But maybe that’s coming in 2021?
TCL went on to announce two new mobile phones… the TCL 10 Pro and TCL 10 L and we’re expecting them to arrive around the 2nd quarter of 2020. The big thing about their new phones is something called NextVision, which is a hardware chipset and also a software display enhancement. Combined with the four lens multi camers setup on the back, in which we can expect a 64MP sensor and a macto lens, similar to the new Samsung A71. They even thre around the term AI technology, which wasn’t too surprising, seeing as most phones now come with some form of AI learning. Oh, and also on trend for this year’s CES, they also mentioned a 5G model which will house a Qualcomm 7 series chipset. The phones will also be found for under $500, so not too bad for what we’ve heard so far.
The last phone, and one that excited the crowd a little that they started clapping, was the announcement of the TCL foldable which is completely in concept at the moment, and Project Archery 2.0 which at first looked like one of those mobile phone VR headsets, but I actually think it was a screen that will enable cinematic experience right in front of your face.
Not much else was mentioned about their phones, and we weren’t even allowed any hands on experience with them. They had two reps standing there showing us the mobile phones. One guy even tried to get into the settings, only for him to have the phone snatched away quicklyk, so they were being very tight lipped on that one. But, the phones themselves looked great. The backpanels of the purple and green variants especially.
There’s also a new software update coming to select TCL 2019 televisions. The first feature coming is eARC and HDMI 2.1. The second one is variable refresh rate for games consoles, and they showed off 60Hz and 120Hz images. They showed a video of the new Call of Duty, which uses 60fps while gaming, and 24fps in the cutscenes to make them feel more cinematic. They’re also teaming up with THX to produce a new game mode, but nothing much was said on this. Lastly is the IPQ Engine calibration app which is compatible with 6 and 8 series TCL TVs. It’ll essentially colour correct your screen without the need for expensive technicians or equipment to colour calibrate your TV. There’s also smart home voice control coming, most notably from Google and Amazon.
They finished off their conference by mentioning the implimentation of Vidrian Mini LED technology, which melds TCL’s existing LED backlight technology make them smaller so there’s more LEDs across the entire backpanel and then use a single clear sheet of glass. This will give a picture a much better luminance grade, as well as give the teleivision the abilkity to hit higher contrast ratios. And of course, where would we be at this year’s CES, without a mention of 8K resolutions? Well, TCL has done it too, and have been given an 8K HDR and 8K Association certification on their new 2020 televisions.