Hisense has some competition in the budget TV space as TCL launches its 4K TVs in the UK for the first time.
The DP608, which is available in 43 or 55 inches, and the DP648, which is available in 43, 50, 55 or 65 inches, are available now with the DC748 coming later this year.
All the TVs from the DP6 range are launching with eye-catching prices. The 55-inch DP648 is just £599 and the 55-inch DP608 is even cheaper at £499. The low price puts them firmly in the path of fellow Chinese brand, Hisense, which has been staking its claim on the budget TV market in the UK by undercutting LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony for the past few years.
TCL may not be a household name in the UK, but in 2017 it became the third biggest TV brand in the US, selling 23.3 million TVs in the process.
TV reviews – see how the cheap TVs we’ve tested compare with more expensive ones.
TCL DP648, available in 43, 50, 55 or 65 inches
TCL’s line-up of TVs may be cheap, but they certainly don’t look it. Narrow silver bezels meet thin silver feet that will all but disappear when you turn the lights down and settle in for an evening movie.
Whether the TV will look as impressive when it’s turned on remains to be seen, but the signs are promising. It’s a 4K panel that’s compatible with two HDR formats: HDR10 and HLG. The former is the current industry standard and every piece of HDR content available is compatible with it. The latter was developed in part by the BBC to make it easier to broadcast HDR content. Its usage has been limited to 4K BBC iPlayer streams, but it’s likely to be the format of choice when the BBC launches a 4K channel.
To help the contrast-boosting technology, TCL has added a feature called HDR PRO. The inky blacks and dazzling whites that HDR helps create can come at the expense of detail. This is something HDR Pro is trying to prevent, but it may be nothing more than a gimmick. The DP648 also has a Wide Colour Gamut feature. As with HDR Pro this could be nothing more than marketing, but according to TCL it provides 30% richer colours than traditional LED screens.
The DP648 is no slouch when it comes to smart features either. It supports Freeview Play and a range of the most popular streaming apps, such as BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, Netflix and Amazon Video.
TCL DP608, available in 43 and 55 inches
On paper, the DP648 looks like an impressive debut for TCL, but what about the cheaper DP608? It’s not as good looking as it’s metal cousin, but it’s far from ugly. The bezels have thickened a bit and the shiny metal has been replaced by black plastic. The understated design is very much the same though, and the DP608 wouldn’t look out of place in most living rooms.
It has a similar design and similar features. You’re still getting a 4K screen and support for HDR 10 and HLG. What you do miss out on is HDR Pro and Wide Colour Gamut, but it’s impossible to know whether the picture quality would suffer without testing these TVs in our lab.
It misses out on some display tech, but Freeview Play and access to numerous streaming apps survives the drop in price unscathed.
TCL DC748, available in 55 and 65 inches
The DC748 isn’t out yet, but when it is released it could be the best of the bunch, particularly when it comes to sound. It has a sound bar made by JBL built into it.
Otherwise it looks to be similar to the DP648. It supports the same HDR formats, and benefits from HDR PRO and Wide Colour Gamut.
We don’t know the price of the DC748 yet, but if it’s anything like the other TVs in TCL’s range, it won’t exactly break the bank.