The Chinese maker's new P-Series has all the stuff we look for in the best LCD TVs, including Dolby Vision HDR and full-array local dimming, for a midrange price.
We've always loved TCL Roku TVs for their low prices and best-in-class smart TV system, but image quality hasn't been a strong suit. With the P-Series, the Chinese TV maker doubles down on picture-enhancing features for a price that's crazy-low.
Which features, you ask? The most important is full-array local dimming, a technology found in many of the best-performing LCD TVs we've tested that allows them to independently brighten and darken different areas of the screen. TCL calls it "Contrast Control Zone" technology, but it means the same thing. All sizes in the P-Series have 72 zones of dimming (er, control), and typically more zones means a better picture.
The sets also work with both types of high dynamic range content, Dolby Vision and HDR10, and TCL claims they'll be the first Roku TVs with Dolby Vision. They also have a wide color gamut with "advanced LED phosphors" for more realistic color, and of course 4K resolution.
Those specs are very similar to Vizio's M-Series, our 2016 Editors' Choice winner for the best TV for the money. But Vizio's 2017 M-Series costs a lot more than the TCL P-Series.
*preliminary price, "subject to change"
The chart above lists all three sizes in the TCL P-Series. The 55-incher will go on presale May 24 at Amazon and ships in June, with other retailers to follow. TCL says the other two sizes' listed prices are potentially subject to change, but I'm willing to bet they're legit. It's tough to imagine the 50-incher costing much more than $500 if the 55-incher is $600. If anything I expect those prices to fall by the time they hit the market in late 2017 ("Q4" is all TCL told me).
TCL is also selling the C-Series, which offers superior styling and a 75-inch size, but no local dimming. Both are powered by Roku's excellent Smart TV system. It's easier to use than any other, with more apps and more frequent updates, and works so well you won't need to connect another box or stick, Roku or otherwise, for streaming Netflix, Amazon and all the rest. It also makes the P-Series' selection of 4K and HDR/Dolby Vision streaming apps second to none.
The latest Roku TV update, available on the P-Series, can suggest new streaming shows automatically and allow custom renaming of inputs. A previous update allows the TVs to pause live shows from the antenna. Both series include Roku's headphone-equipped remote.
We're looking forward to reviewing the TCL P-Series soon.
TCL P-Series Roku TV
This article was originally published on January 4, but has been updated with pricing, availability and other details.