TCL launches its affordable C71 and C81 series QLED TVs

Mike Wheatley

TCL is making good on its promise to make premium TV display technologies more affordable with the launch of its C71 and C81 4K QLED TV range in the U.K., which are now on sale at Amazon and Costco.


The TVs, which were first seen at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, feature a premium, 4K resolution Quantum Dot Light Emitting Diode panel, which is widely considered to be superior to regular LCD, and almost at the same level as OLED display technology.

QLED panels are made up of quantum dots, which are tiny semiconductor particles measuring just a few nanometres across. The quantum dots help to convert the white backlight into coloured lights, and deliver a much wider colour reproduction than is possible with traditional LCD, in addition to much higher peak brightness than is possible with OLED.

The TCL C71 series is available in three options, 50-inches, 55-inches and 65-inches, priced at £499, £599 and £799 respectively. Meanwhile the TCL C81 is available in 55-inches and 65-inches, priced at £649 and £849.

That’s a pretty decent discount off the price of similar TVs from Samsung, whose 2020 QLED range starts at £799 for a 43-inch model. And it’s far cheaper than LG Electronics’ 2020 OLED range, which starts at around £1,500 for the smallest 48-inch version.

Even more impressive is that TCL’s TVs both support the full suite of High Dynamic Range formats, including Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR and HLG, while the Smart HDR mode also allows for regular SDR content to be upscaled too.

Both of the TVs run Google’s Android TV platform. They ship with Android TV 9.0, though they will be updated to Android TV 10.0 later in the year, TCL said. They also come with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and Freeview Play apps built-in, and support Dolby Atmos for a better audio experience.

Other features include support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice controls. In fact, the only real notable difference between the two models is that the C81 features front-firing Onkyo speakers with a rear subwoofer, whereas the C71 lacks these.

TCL's flagship QLED TV this year is the 8K resolution X915 series that’s available in a choice of 65-inch and 75-inch sizes. It has also launched an 8-Series TV that features Mini-LED display technology that fuses tens of thousands of LED backlights and their circuitry directly into the panel’s glass substrate. This helps to create a local dimming effect that’s far superior to QLED, allowing for subtler shading and an increased sense of depth with images on screen.