TCL’s CES 2023 surprise: it’s going to sell its first QD-OLED TV in 2023

If all goes according to plan, we’ll have a third option in 2023 when it comes to TVs that use QD-OLED technology. Ahead of CES 2023, TCL has announced that it will sell its first QD-OLED TV in the coming months.

TCL fans already know what this probably means. The brand has a track record of delivering impressive TVs at rock-bottom prices, so it wouldn’t surprise us at all if TCL’s QD-OLED TV ends up costing less than Samsung and Sony — the only other companies in the QD-OLED game, so far.

That fact alone could make TCL’s QD-OLED TV an instant success. We’ve been so impressed by the Samsung S95B and the Sony A95K, that even if TCL can’t perfectly match their level of performance, it should still be leaps and bounds better than any other TCL TV — and probably better than any other TV at its price (whatever that happens to be).

As a refresher for those who haven’t been following the QD-OLED story from 2022, it’s a new type of display technology that merges quantum dots with an OLED panel. The result is an ultra-thin screen that can produce all of the gorgeous, inky blacks of OLED, along with better brightness and more accurate colors.

Samsung Display is the only company that makes QD-OLED panels at the moment, which deepens its competition with LG Display, the only company that makes OLED panels. QD-OLED appears to be superior to OLED, but OLED manufacturing is further ahead, with panel sizes that range as large as 98 inches. That lead may only last for another year. Samsung just announced that will deliver a 77-inch QD-OLED TV in 2023, which means even bigger sizes are likely going to follow quickly.

Unfortunately, TCL isn’t giving up any specifics on its QD-OLED strategy. We’re missing key info like price, availability, screen sizes (55- and 65-inch models are all but guaranteed, but what about something bigger?), resolution (likely 4K), smart TV platforms (Roku or Google TV?), and will it adopt the same native 144Hz refresh rate that Samsung has announced for its 2023 S95C QD-OLED TV?

We’re also curious about just how much less TCL will be able to charge for its QD-OLED TV than Samsung and Sony (if that’s actually the plan). In the past, TCL has been able to take advantage of vertical integration — it makes the LCD panels and backlights that it uses in its QLED, mini-LED, and LED TVs. If it buys its QD-OLED panels from Samsung, that might restrict how much wiggle room it has on pricing.

Then there’s the elephant in the room. Will TCL actually make good on this promise? We only ask because we’ve been burnt before. The company said it would debut its first mini-LED OD Zero TV in 2021. Then it said it again at the start of 2022. Now that we’re in the first weeks of 2023, and there’s still no sign that the much-anticipated 8K X9 will ever hit retail.

Hopefully, TCL will start to be more forthcoming on these details as we get further into the new year. As soon as we learn more, we’ll let you know.

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