TCL, which has established itself as a fantastic bang-for-the-buck TV manufacturer, is developing an 8K television in collaboration with its software partner, Roku. The companies announced the project today and said the first 8K TCL Roku TV is scheduled for release by the end of 2019. “Roku is developing an 8K hardware reference design that TCL will be the first to license,” the press release says, with TCL also touting the picture performance offered by the LCDs that it builds in-house at its own panel factory.
The companies said nothing about the major hurdle confronting 8K: a total dearth of content that people want to watch. Apart from YouTube sizzle reels, there’s really not much to stream. A lot of companies like Samsung and LG claim that their upscaling technologies deliver a noticeable upgrade to 4K video, so it’s likely that TCL and Roku will lean on upscaling as a selling point for this eventual TV, as well.
Separately, Roku plans to release a different hardware reference design with far-field microphones, opening up new potential for Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa support directly on the TVs — or further advancement of the company’s own voice command system. Currently, Roku TVs are compatible with Google Assistant — but it’s not part of the platform itself and depends on you already having an Assistant device. As with 8K, TCL says it will be the first to market with a Roku TV that includes the built-in microphones sometime in 2019.
TCL also used CES to introduce a 75-inch version of its 6-Series 4K HDR Roku TV series.