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TCL's 2020 soundbars offer Dolby Atmos decoding, budget prices

TCL's new 2020 range of five soundbars are designed to accompany the company's TVs and are all priced under $300.

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TCL

TCL has gone from strength to strength with its TVs -- CNET's David Katzmaier recently said its 6-Series Roku TV offers "the best picture quality for the money I've tested this year." As a complement to its 2020 TV range the company has announced five new soundbars, and they're competitively priced. The Alto 9 Plus flagship, for example, tops out at $300.

Features include Bluetooth and Roku TV Ready certification (except the Alto 3), which lets it work with a Roku TV like the TCL 6-Series. They offer three different listening modes: movie, music and TV.

Read more: Best soundbars of 2020

TCL Alto 9 Plus

The Alto 9 Plus is the most unusual of the soundbars, with large scooplike ports at either side of the speaker, which TCL says create "an incredibly immersive, ultrawide soundstage." 

The soundbar offers Dolby Atmos decoding, but like the more expensive Sony HT-G700 it only simulates height effects. The 9 Plus promises Wi-Fi music streaming as well as HDMI ARC and optical digital connectivity.

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TCL

TCL's main competition, as it is with TVs, is Vizio, which has put out an excellent series of soundbars over the past few years. Vizio's soundbars go even higher-end than TCL though, by offering surround speakers and true Atmos playback.

Here are the other TCL soundbars:

TCL Alto 8i, $179 

  • Single soundbar with dual "onboard" subwoofers
  • Dolby Atmos decoding, software emulation
  • HDMI ARC, aux/audio (3.5mm), optical, USB, Bluetooth
  • Availability: October

TCL  Alto 6 Plus, $129 

  • Soundbar with wireless subwoofer
  • HDMI ARC, aux/audio (3.5mm), optical, USB  
  • Availability: End of September
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    TCL

TCL Alto 6, $79

  • Single soundbar
  • Inputs: HDMI ARC, aux/audio (3.5mm), optical, USB  
  • Availability: End of September

TCL Alto 3, $59 

  • Single soundbar
  • Inputs: aux/audio (3.5mm), optical, USB
  • Availability: October