underscored tcl 5 series 2020
CNN  — 

TCL’s 2019 6-Series was impressive enough — winning top honors in our testing of best TVs — but the company looks to improve upon that already impressive series as it unveils a portion of its 2020 line of TVs.

For the 2020 lineup, both the 5- and 6-Series will feature quantum dot LED (QLED) technology. Historically, TCL has only offered this on the 6-Series, while the 5-Series stuck with a more traditional panel. This brings the 5-Series closer to the mainstream premium level that the 6-Series has always offered, which is much in line with TCL’s history of seamlessly weaving sharp picture quality and affordability throughout the Roku lines.

So, is it only price as the differential here? Allow us to break it down.

5-Series (starting at $399.99; amazon.com)

underscored tcl 5 series 65 inch 2020

TCL’s 2020 5-Series starts at just $399.99 for a 50-inch TV and goes up to a 75-inch for $1,099.99. That’s a pretty good screen-size-to-price ratio if you ask us, and the quality is shaping up to be pretty powerful. The 5-Series’ QLED-powered display is surely an uptick from OLED, delivering what should be a vibrant and brighter picture (which will be full 4K UHD).

To ensure the brightness of the TV doesn’t wash out the picture or swallow up any darker colors, TCL is adding in Contrast Control Zones, which utilize LEDs to increase how brights and darks work together. With up to 80 cones of these LED lights across the panel, the TV can be precise as to which areas to lighten up for vibrancy or darken to ensure contrast. It should deliver a more realistic view as a whole. The 5-Series also supports HDR, Dolby Vision and several content-specific modes, which ensure the TV can make whatever content you’re watching look the absolute best.

Thinner bezels across 5-Series models ensure an immersive view. TCL’s FullView design pushes the edges of the panel much closer to the edges of the TV. In return, you get slimmer and less distracting bezels. The 5-Series’ included stand features cable management built into the legs, aiding in the distraction-free setup.

It’s a full Roku TV as well, and that means you basically have the brains of a Roku streaming stick built into the TV. You can expect easy access to a ton of services, including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Disney+ right out of the box. Navigation and functionality should be simple and straightforward. And if you want to plug in a streaming box or another peripheral, the 5-Series features four HDMI ports (one meeting ARC standard, which allows for one remote control), an Ethernet port, a USB-A port, an optical jack, an audio jack and a cable line port.

Unfortunately, TCL hasn’t given exact ship dates for the 5-Series yet, but you can expect the below models to begin rolling out shortly, with some being available right now for order and others for preorder. (We’d also recommend looking at the previous 2019 6-Series for extreme value.)

6-Series (starting at $649.99; amazon.com)

underscored tcl 6 series 75 inch 2020

As expected, the 2020 6-Series builds upon the 2020 5-Series and the previous-generation 6-Series. But it’s less a full rethinking and more of a refined update for 2020. TCL’s 6-Series starts at $649.99 for a 55-inch and shoots up to $1,399.99 for a 75-inch.

And for 2020, these retain the same great features as the class-leading 2019 models. You get a QLED panel that delivers a full 4K Ultra High Definition picture with support for HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. But it steps things up further with mini LED backlights that produce up to 240 Contrast Control Zones for super bright, deeply contrasted scenes.

And in addition to the now-classic standards (HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos), the 6-Series will be the world’s first TV with THX Certified Game Mode. It’s a fantasy certification that delivers a smooth experience that is optimized for gaming. It taps into the variable refresh rate of the 6-Series TV and the game mode. You’ll be able to adjust picture mode all within the Roku TV interface.

The included legs that make up the stand, similarly to the 5-Series, hide any cable clutter. The 6-Series features an ample number of ports: three HDMIs, one HDMI ARC, an Ethernet port, a cable antenna, a USB-A, an optical and an audio jack.

TCL’s 6-Series will be launching in the coming weeks with preorders across all three models open now. You can see a full breakdown of pricing below, and we’ll update with specific purchase links as they go live.

As we said above, we’d recommend acting fast to secure a 2019 6-Series, which still delivers what we think is the best overall quality for the price.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed prices at the time of publication.