New TCL TVs with 'Next Gen Mini-LED' tech will be unveiled on Jan 11

Expect 4K and 8K TVs using 2021's hottest new TV tech

(Image credit: TCL)

2021 is definitely the Year Of Mini-LED making their way into our lists of the best TVs, with the next-gen TV panel tech coming in new sets from a bunch of manufacturers, including LG and Samsung. One of those companies is TCL, which is one of the biggest TV makers in the world, and the second-biggest in the US – the company will reveal its new products on January 11th as part of the all-digital CES 2020.

For most companies, Mini-LED is being used for the first time, but for TCL it's actually old news: it already sets on-sale that include Mini-LED tech, so this year we expect to see it roll Mini-LED panels to more models, and for improvements in image quality, of course.

TCL hasn't revealed any specific information about the TVs yet, beyond the reveal date, but we expect it to be aggressive about pricing – the current TCL R635 Mini-LED models start from only $650 for a 55-inch version, which is much cheaper than you're likely to see from its rivals. 

A new version might be even less expensive, but it's also possible that the price will stay the same (since it's already so low) and TCL will improve the areas where the previous model stumbled: adding 4K/120Hz support for PS5/Xbox Series X, improving motion processing and boosting the brightness would push the new set close to perfection.

What is Mini-LED?

Mini-LED tech is exactly what it sounds like: smaller LEDs are used for the light that powers the screen. Unlike OLED TVs, the pixels in LCD TVs don't generate their own light, instead requiring a bright backlight behind the panel to shine through it.

Using Mini-LEDs for this panel has two major advantages: you can fit more of them in the same screen size, meaning you can make the panel brighter; and their smaller size means you can dim specific areas of the backlight more precisely, helping to achieve deeper black levels.

They're the next great hope for LCD TVs – brighter than OLED TVs, but with contrast that nearly matches what OLED can do, while not being criminally expensive.

Compared to Micro-LED tech (which will be a direct replacement for OLED one day), it's the more achievable next-gen TV option – Samsung's first Micro-LED TV is eye-wateringly expensive.

Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's former AV and Smart Home Editor (UK), master of all things audiovisual, overseeing our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also covered smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable. Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair. Matt now works for our sister title TechRadar.