Interested in buying one of these TVs from LeEco? See my latest update below.
TV makers with big names in China, like TCL and Hisense, are coming to the US market to challenge the dominance of Samsung, LG and Vizio. And the latest, LeEco, actually bought Vizio earlier this year.
Now LeEco is launching TVs under its own name and packing in some high-end technology at aggressive prices. Its first four will go on sale at the company's own site, LeMall, in November.
The most remarkable is an 85-inch monster called the uMax85 that'll cost a cool $5,000. That's a huge TV and a lot of money, but for perspective, like-sized sets from Samsung and Sony cost $3,000 more, and don't feature the kind of high-end picture enhancements used by LeEco.
The uMax85 has a full-array local dimming (FALD) backlight with 448 zones, more than any other TV we've heard claim, including the Vizio Reference series and the Hisense H10 (the Sony Z9D might have more, but Sony isn't talking). FALD generally provides superior image quality compared to other LCD technologies. LeEco claims 90 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 color space, which is decent but not as wide as some high-end sets, such as OLEDs or LCDs that use Quantum Dots.
Like LG and Vizio TVs, the uMax85 supports both high dynamic range (HDR) standards, Dolby Vision and HDR10. In our tests we haven't found a definitive advantage for one over the other, but in general it's nice for a TV to support both. HDR usually provides superior image quality to standard 4K or HDTV video.
LeEco also talks up the TV's smart innards, including 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and a quad-core processor. Its SmartTV system is the same one used by Sony in the US, Google's Android TV. That means it has access to all the apps in the Android TV store, as well as the nifty Cast system exemplified by Chromecast and Vizio's 2016 SmartCast TVs -- although unlike many of Vizio's sets, it won't include a tablet remote.
In addition to the 85-inch model there's a trio of smaller, less expensive TVs:
All have 4K resolution, HDR10 (but not Dolby Vision) compatibility, and lack local dimming, so we don't expect them to perform as well as Vizio's similarly-priced M series. They have the same smart TV system as the 85-incher, albeit with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (the 43-incher has 16GB of storage). All of LeEco's TVs boast Harman Kardon sound, the same sonic partner found in many of LG's TVs.
For now the TVs are only available at LeMall, the company's it offers limited-time "LeReward" discounts ($1,000 off the 85-incher; $200 off the smaller sets) for people who sign up to the site and buy a TV on the "flash sale" day, November 2.
Update November 8: The 85-inch TV sold out quickly on flash sale day. In a November 3 email LeEco says it sent to people who signed up for LeRewards, it states "We are planning to have more units available later this month at the same LeRewards price. We will let you know as soon as they become available." I signed up myself and never received the email, however, and neither did at least one CNET reader I've heard from. I've asked LeEco for details and will update this section when I hear more.