Mini LED has been a core component of TCL TVs in the US for some time now, with the high-end 8 Series and more mid-range 6-Series both getting Mini LED to enhance their picture performance.
Mini LED can vastly improve contrast and brightness control in television displays, thanks to the tens of thousands of tiny LEDs packed in behind the panel. It’s no surprise that LG is making use of the tech in its new QNED range, nor Samsung in its Neo QLED range, but TCL by all accounts brought the technology to market first – even if it’s a bit late to its own party in the United Kingdom.
In the press event, TCL also confirmed it was looking to make its own OLED panels for future TVs, but not before 2023. Given our previous conversations with the manufacturer, too, we expect it’ll be a form of inkjet-printed OLED rather than the conventional ‘WOLED’ (white OLED) panels currently made by LG Display and used by LG Electronics, Sony, Philips, and Panasonic.
Europe Product Development Director Marek Maciejewski has told us that “We see no future in terms of efficiency and brightness [for conventional OLED]”. The inkjet process can supposedly “avoid the problematic evaporation technique” currently used to create WOLED panels, and would be “more precise” with “less waste [and] lower prices” – with Maciejewski adding that he believed “all major OLED manufacturers are developing this.”
if you’re not sold on the promise of Mini LED, then, it’s very possible that TCL will shake up the market with truly cheap OLED TVs a few years down the line.
The special relationship
TCL’s TV range in the UK has remained pretty bare bones compared to the US, though that is slowly changing. In 2020, the TV brand introduced QLED TVs to the UK for the first time with the C71 and C81 QLED models, and it’s clearly been motivated to push harder into the British market with its other display technologies.
If TCL can capture the same audience as in the US, that would be impressive indeed, though a number of factors are working against it. For one, various TV makers like Toshiba occupy similar price points, if with not as flashy technology, and the pull of Mini LED may not be as attractive with multiple TV brands releasing similar ranges in the same year.