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TCL 8K Roku TVs go on preorder now, starting at $2,199 for 65-inch model

The 8K 6-Series is one of the most affordable 8K TVs you can buy, but it's still expensive.

TCL's 65-inch 8K 6-Series TV

TCL's 8K 6-Series TV is powered by the Roku smart TV system.

TCL

TCL teased at CES that it would bring 8K to its popular 6-Series line of TVs. On Monday, the China-based electronics giant took the big next step, announcing pricing and availability for the 65- and 75-inch versions. Both will be available beginning "next month" with the 65-inch model (65R648) starting at $2,199. The 75-inch set (75R648) runs $2,999. You can preorder them now at Best Buy and Amazon.

Those prices are high compared to 4K TVs, but they make the 6-Series one of the most affordable 8K models on the market. Samsung has more 8K models than any TV-maker, but its least expensive 2021 offering, the QN800A, costs $3,000 for the 65-inch size. New 8K TVs from LG, Sony and others are similarly expensive. Meanwhile LG's mainstream 2021 OLED TV with 4K resolution, the C1 series, costs just $100 more than the 8K TCL at 65 inches and $500 more at 77 inches, and in CNET's experience OLED beats QLED.

Like the excellent 4K version of the TCL 6-Series, TCL's 8K TVs use QLED technology and mini-LED backlights. The TVs can upscale 4K and HD content to 8K resolution, which is necessary because there are basically no actual 8K TV shows and movies available to watch. We're only now starting to see big events like the Super Bowl or the Tokyo Olympics become available in 4K -- so long as you have the right provider.

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8K resolution delivers four times as many pixels as 4K, for potentially more detail and sharpness, but there's a point of diminishing returns. To get anything out of higher resolutions and their proportionally tinier pixels, you need to sit closer, get a bigger TV, or both. That fact, along with the high price of the 8K TVs and lack of available content, is why CNET hasn't recommended buying any 8K TVs in the past, even to high-end shoppers. 

Read more: Is 8K worth it? All the reasons not to buy an 8K TV

roku-8k-tv-remote
Roku

There are a few 8K videos on YouTube right now and some 8K content is available to gamers. High-end video cards such as the Nvidia RTX 3090 can output 8K resolution today, and both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will eventually work with 8K games -- although currently neither console supports 8K output. TCL says its new TVs offer "support for the latest HDMI standards" with two of the four HDMI ports supporting HDMI 2.1, including 8K resolution at 60Hz and 4K at 120Hz. The TVs will also handle variable refresh rate, auto game mode (HDMI-ALLM) and THX Certified Game mode. 

Dolby Vision HDR video and Dolby Atmos audio, via both the TV speakers and pass-through, are similarly present, as is support for Apple's AirPlay 2. The TV can also work with smart speakers powered by voice assistants including Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple's Siri

Roku's software is still running the show and TCL says the device will feature a "premium" Roku remote that is a bit longer and made from "polished high quality materials," a step up from the standard black plastic Roku remotes. 

CNET will test TCL's 8K 6-Series soon. Keep checking back for our full review.

Update, July 28, 2021: TCL originally indicated to CNET that the remote includes additional features, namely rechargeable batteries, hands-free voice control, a headphone jack for private listening and a remote finder, but company reps subsequently told us that those features were pulled. The remote included with the 8K 6-Series doesn't have those features.