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TCL’s New 2017 Roku 4K HDR TVs Make Dolby Vision HDR Much More Affordable

by on January 12, 2017
 

Stephan Jukic – January 12, 2017

High Dynamic Range in 4K TVs only really started to emerge in the newly released models of 2015 and at that point it was a feature found almost exclusively in the priciest premium televisions (though not all of them since LG’s OLED models mostly didn’t come with the feature. Then in 2016, we saw the emergence of a whole roster of premium, mid-range and even budget 4K UHD TVs with HDR as an integral spec of their display capacities and their prices only kept falling as the year wore on.

Now, in 2017, not only have the levels of HDR quality in the newest 4K TVs improved dramatically, the unveiling of more and ever cheaper 4K UHD models with either HDR10 or Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range compatibility is only expanding.

With this we come to TCL’s numerous new 4K UHD television releases that were first unveiled at CES 2017  a couple of weeks ago. The Chinese company is going to start selling a whopping 25 new Roku 4K TVs in North America and the U.S in 2017 and many of these will come with compatibility with the cutting-edge Dolby Vision HDR standard that is slowly moving to overtake HDR10 as the premium HDR spec for 4K home entertainment display.

With the release of these TVs, TCL is bringing the bar for HDR TV pricing down to just $500 and in the bargain, these new televisions come with the excellent Roku TV smart platform which is also featured in an assortment of set-top boxes with their own HDR support from the Roku Brand.

Moving back to the TVs, while TCL isn’t exactly a top-tier brand in terms of overall picture quality, the inclusion of Dolby Vision HDR in many of the new models will go a long way in helping them deliver some particularly superb display specs and rich color if they’re used to view HDR video sources in particular but also if they’re being used for SDR 4K and upscaled non-4K video. Including HDR support in any TV tends toward also meaning a superior level of color, brightness and black level performance that’s reflected in almost all decent-quality content played on that TV.

The specific models which will offer Dolby HDR support in 2017 are the company’s new C-Series and P-Series models (the latter not to be confused with Vizio’s 2016 P-Series 4K HDR TVs which also come with Dolby Vision HDR). Among the cheapest of the new 4K HDR TVs will be a 50 inch P-Series TV that’s expected to retail for just $500. This is a stunning price indeed for a High Dynamic Range TV that comes with Dolby Vision in particular.

One of TCL's C-Series HDR 4K TV models

One of TCL’s C-Series HDR 4K TV models

The Roku C- and P-Series TVs will also include HDR10 support and come with a feature known as “Creative Pro” upscaling, which is specifically designed to give non-HDR content a veneer of superior color and contrast performance. These new TVs will also of course come with the usual connectivity vitals like HEVC, HDCP 2.2, HDMI 2.0a and WiFi/Ethernet connectivity. The C-Series is the more premium line of the two and will be slimmer while also offering a supposedly superior HDR Dynamic Contrast capacity for further dynamic range optimization scene by scene. The C-Series models will range in size from 49 to 75 inches and the P-Series will top out at 65 inches.

TCL will also release a new S-series model without Dolby Vision HDR, which will range in size from 43 to 65 inches. This TV will come with the same Roku TV smart platform and access to the same apps as the two other Dolby Vision models.

The Dolby Vision format itself is considered by many tech watchers to be superior to the rival HDR10 standard due to its higher maximum standards for color support and peak brightness. Currently, major movie/TV show creation studios like MGM, Universal, Netflix Amazon Studios and Vudu are all opting to film their content so it comes with Dolby Vision HDR mastering built into it.

The Dolby Format itself also includes support for HDR10 standards and at its own ideal best Dolby means the display of content with 12-bit color (68 billion color values), black levels of 0.0005 nits or lower and peak brightness that approaches the 4,000 nit+ range. HDR10 by comparison is defined by only 10-bit color support (1.07 billion color value) and peak brightness of just over 1000 nits, or 540 for an OLED 4K TV.

color-gamuts

While virtually no current 4K TV with Dolby HDR is capable of displaying the full gamut of color and brightness that content made in the standard by the above studios is designed to deliver in the right display, users of most Dolby-powered High Dynamic Range TVs will at least see a part of the full Dolby Vision standards gamut. Usually, this is more than enough to deliver a truly superior-to-SDR level of picture quality in a movie or TV show.

Furthermore, Dolby Vision HDR 4K Blu-ray discs are expected to emerge at some point in early 2017, giving owners of Dolby 4K TVs one further easy to access source of high quality HDR home entertainment.

Story by 4k.com

16 comments
 
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  • Troy Goodall
    February 6, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    When will these TVs be available in stores?

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      February 6, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Hey there Troy. TCL is planning on releasing the new models in the Spring, so we’re expecting to see them hit shelves in March or thereabouts.

      Reply

  • Ken
    March 2, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Which stores will carry the 2017 tcl 55″ and when?

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      March 3, 2017 at 10:13 am

      Hello Ken. I believe they’ll be available through a number of major retailers, from what I know of more surely, Sam’s Club and Walmart both sell them. I would expect Amazon to have them soon as well. It sells the 2016 models so 2017 is a likely progression.

      Reply

  • Hamza
    March 7, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Will these tcl tvs support ps4 pro

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      March 9, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      Hello Hamza, there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t. These are new TVs and should have full HDMI 2.0 connectivity for PS4 Pro connectivity for 60fps 4K, and for HDR support for that matter. (though the PS4 Pro doesn’t support Dolby Vision HDR yet, these TVs support HDR10 to our knowledge).

      Reply

  • Sam
    March 18, 2017 at 9:25 am

    I’m waiting quite impatiently for these, want to go 65 p-series honestly. Wish best buy would get them already.

    Reply

  • Shashank Paritala
    March 26, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Hey Stephen, have these tvs recieved the Uhd premium certification?

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      March 27, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      Hello Shashank, no I don’t believe they have UHD Premium certification, though we still haven’t tested a model from the 2017 P-Series for which we’re expecting good quality.

      Reply

  • marni
    March 29, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Your description of Roku upscaling suggests it really isn’t upscaling at all, just contrast and saturation boosting [an old trick, used by many manufacturers]. LCD technology in general is notorious for poor resolution changing [up or down], so i’m not expecting much from this feature [but of course at these prices, that’s still ok].
    One thing tho- if i want to goose up rez just a little, to QHD levels, do you think these sets, or sets by any other manufacturers, could do it?

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      April 1, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Hey there Marni, HDR upscaling is still known to be crappy much of the time when used for SDR content but resolution upscaling does work remarkably well in many 4K TVs. We’ve repeatedly noticed a genuine sharpness improvement when viewing 1080p or 720p content on 4K TV panels, especially from name brand TVs but also from lesser-known models like those of TCL or Hisense even.

      Reply

  • Gerard
    May 2, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Will these tv’s be available in Canada

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      May 16, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      Hey there Gerard. They should be, though I can’t tell you when to expect a release date. 4K TV releases for the Canadian market are notoriously hard to predict, often even for well-known models.

      Reply

  • Evan s.
    May 8, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    I will need to know what the peak Nit capabilities of the C series and P series will be before making any moves towards these tv’s.
    If it’s over 700 nits, its something to be talked about. If it’s under 500 nits for either series, it becomes a big missed opportunity as high nit levels will do HDR and Dolby the most justice in my opinion.

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      May 15, 2017 at 11:30 am

      Hello there Evan, we’ll be reviewing the first model of these TVs to come out (the 55 inch P-Series) as soon as we can get a model in our hands, and we will definitely cover its peak brightness for both SDR and HDR content. Personally, I’m expecting to see at least 600 nits as a peak brightness spec for HDR content in the P-Series due to its full-array backlight.. This would just about match with what the Vizio P-Series can do.

      Reply

  • N.Srinivas Rao
    May 10, 2017 at 4:01 am

    Hi,

    This is N.Srinivas Rao from Visakhapatnam, Still i am waiting also.

    When you release this product please inform to me

    Reply

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