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TCL 8 Series vs. 6 Series: Full Comparison of TVs, Specs, and Which Is the Best Value

Are you in the market for a new TV and considering the hugely popular options from TCL? Two of their most talked-about models are from the premium 8 Series and the more affordable 6 Series. As an expert in digital displays, I‘m here to give you an in-depth comparison of the TCL 8 Series vs 6 Series to help you decide which is the best TV for your needs and budget.

While both series deliver fantastic picture quality and advanced features, there are some key differences to be aware of. Let‘s dive into the details and see how these two TCL TV lineups stack up against each other.

TCL 8 Series Overview
TCL‘s 8 Series sits at the top of their TV range. First introduced in 2019, it aims to deliver uncompromising home theater performance. The headline feature is a Mini-LED backlight, which allows for astonishingly precise local dimming. This enables the 8 Series to produce inky deep blacks right next to dazzling bright highlights, for stunning HDR with incredible contrast.

Combined with QLED quantum dot technology, the 8 Series covers a very wide color gamut for vivid, lifelike images that pop off the screen. It also boasts a native 120Hz refresh rate for super-smooth motion, making it a great choice for sports and gaming. The 8 Series is equipped with Roku‘s excellent smart TV interface for easy access to all the top streaming apps.

The premium design and materials make these TVs a striking addition to any room, with a nearly bezel-less screen, metal chassis, and a stylish center stand. You‘ll find the 8 Series in 65" and 75" sizes, but be prepared to pay top dollar, with prices starting around $1,800.

TCL 6 Series Overview
The TCL 6 Series has been a hugely popular TV line since it first launched in 2018. It has earned a reputation for delivering outstanding picture quality and features at very competitive prices. While not quite matching the peak brightness and precision dimming of the 8 Series, the 6 Series still impresses with a QLED panel, full-array local dimming, and Dolby Vision HDR.

In 2020, TCL gave the 6 Series a major upgrade by switching to Mini-LED backlighting technology. This greatly increased the number of local dimming zones for improved contrast and HDR performance. It also gained a 120Hz panel, AMD FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, and THX Certified Game Mode, making it an excellent TV for both movie watching and gaming.

Like the 8 Series, you get the Roku smart TV platform built-in for a huge selection of apps and an intuitive interface. The design is more basic than the premium 8 Series, with a plastic chassis and dual feet stands, but still looks sleek and modern. The 6 Series is available in 55", 65", and 75" models with prices starting under $700, offering phenomenal bang for your buck.

TCL 8 Series vs 6 Series: In-Depth Comparison

Display Technology
The TCL 8 Series and 6 Series both use quantum dot technology, or QLED. This allows them to produce a very wide color gamut with enhanced color volume compared to traditional LED-LCD TVs. Quantum dots also help maintain color accuracy and saturation at high brightness levels.

However, the big upgrade for the 8 Series is the inclusion of an advanced Mini-LED backlight. According to TCL, it boasts over 25,000 LEDs in up to 1,000 independently dimmable zones. This compares to the roughly 1,000 LEDs and 240 zones found in the 6 Series.

The main benefit of the 8 Series‘ Mini-LED backlight is the greater control it gives over the image. Having so many tiny LEDs divided into many zones allows extremely precise local dimming. Bright areas can be pushed to peak levels without washing out nearby dark areas. The result is substantially better contrast and a more dynamic HDR experience.

While not quite matching the precision of the 8 Series, the 6 Series still delivers impressive local dimming and contrast thanks to its own Mini-LED backlight and quantum dot technology. In side-by-side comparisons, the 8 Series can get a bit brighter and produces slightly less "blooming" around bright objects. However, you have to look very closely to notice a major difference in overall picture quality between these two series.

Resolution and HDR
Both the TCL 8 Series and 6 Series have 4K Ultra HD resolution. This means you get 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is 4 times the resolution of 1080p Full HD. With 4K, you can sit closer to larger screen sizes while still seeing a perfectly sharp, detailed image. 4K also allows you to appreciate the extra detail in Ultra HD videos from streaming services, 4K Blu-ray discs, and game consoles.

For HDR (high dynamic range), these TCL series support the most popular formats. These include the baseline HDR10 standard, the more advanced Dolby Vision, and the HLG format used for live 4K broadcasts. With specially graded HDR content, you‘ll experience a wider range of brightness with deeper blacks and brighter highlights, along with a broader palette of colors.

The 8 Series‘ higher brightness and Mini-LED precision gives it a slight edge for HDR performance, especially in a dark room where you can really appreciate the detail in shadows. However, the 6 Series is no slouch and delivers a convincing HDR experience in most lighting conditions. Both TVs feature TCL‘s effective "HDR Dynamic Contrast" settings to optimize HDR based on your room‘s light levels.

Refresh Rate and Gaming Features
If you‘re a gamer or sports fan, the TCL 8 Series and 6 Series have you covered with advanced features. Both series have 120Hz native refresh rates, which means the screen updates 120 times per second. This is great for fast-paced action as it can show each individual frame of 60 fps and 120 fps games and videos without blur. You can also enable motion smoothing for lower frame rate content to make it appear more fluid.

For gamers, the 8 Series and 6 Series support HDMI 2.1 features like Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). With ALLM, the TV will automatically switch to Game Mode when it detects a game signal from a console like an Xbox Series X or PS5, ensuring the lowest input lag.

VRR allows the TV to synchronize its refresh rate with the frame rate of a game in real-time. This prevents screen tearing and stuttering for smoother gameplay. While the 8 Series uses a custom VRR technology, the 6 Series supports AMD FreeSync, which is compatible with Xbox and PC GPUs. The 6 Series also goes a step further with a special THX Certified Game Mode, providing an optimized setting for gaming.

Smart TV Platform and Voice Control
TCL has partnered with Roku to use its popular smart TV platform in the 8 Series and 6 Series. In my experience, Roku is one of the best smart TV interfaces available. It has an intuitive, customizable home screen that puts all your favorite streaming apps front and center. The app selection is unbeatable, with thousands of free and paid options.

You also get useful features like voice search through the Roku remote. Simply speak the name of a movie, show, actor or director and Roku will find it. If you have a separate Alexa or Google Assistant device, you can use it to launch apps and control the TV hands-free. The 8 Series takes voice control a step further with far-field mics built into the TV, allowing truly hands-free voice commands without any additional devices needed.

One advantage of Roku TVs like the TCL 8 Series and 6 Series is how frequently they receive updates. Roku continually adds new features, apps, and performance improvements throughout the life of the TV. So you can buy one knowing it will keep getting better over time.

When it comes to audio, there‘s a clear difference between the TCL 8 Series and 6 Series. As the premium model, the 8 Series boasts an advanced built-in speaker system. It has four front-firing drivers (two tweeters and two woofers) powered by 60 watts. More impressively, it supports Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound processing for a more immersive audio experience with compatible content.

The 6 Series has a more standard TV speaker setup. TCL doesn‘t specify the wattage but it likely falls in the 15-20W range common for mainstream TVs. The audio is decent with clear dialogue, but lacks the dynamic range and simulated surround of the 8 Series.

Honestly, neither series is going to rival a good soundbar or surround sound system. But if you value simplified setup and don‘t want to connect external audio gear, the 8 Series will get you better sound. That said, I recommend most people plan on pairing a soundbar or speakers with either of these TVs if you really want an audio experience to match the stellar picture.

Design and Build Quality
As you would hope given the price difference, the TCL 8 Series feels a clear step up in design and build quality compared to the 6 Series. The 8 Series has an understated, modern aesthetic with an edge-to-edge glass panel and impossibly thin bezels. A slim metal band wraps around theTV for an elegant, premium look. There‘s a bit of a "chin" below the screen that houses the far-field mics and front-firing speakers.

The 6 Series sticks with a plastic construction but still feels solidly made. The bezels are slightly thicker than the 8 Series but still impressively slim. Both TVs adopt a similar center stand design, with angled metal feet that provide stable support while being unobtrusive.

The 8 Series has a unique "ribbon" style metal cable management channel on the back to help hide your HDMI and power cables for a cleaner look. It also has a built-in cable cozy to keep things tidy. On the 6 Series you get simple clips to help route your cables.

At 2.7" deep, the 75" 8 Series is slimmer than the 2.8" of the 75" 6 Series. However, both are still quite chunky compared to some premium LED TVs and certainly OLED models. This is understandable given the more complex full-array backlights used by both series.

On the connectivity front, both the TCL 8 Series and 6 Series are very well equipped. The 8 Series has a total of 4 HDMI ports (1 eARC), all of which support HDMI 2.1 features like ALLM and VRR at 4K 120Hz. You also get a USB 3.0 port, Ethernet jack, RF input, optical digital audio output, and a headphone jack.

The 6 Series matches the 8 Series with 4 HDMI ports (1 eARC). However, only 2 of the ports are HDMI 2.1 capable. This means you can still connect devices like a PS5, Xbox Series X, and a high-end PC, but only 2 of them will support the full suite of HDMI 2.1 features. Rounding out the connections are a USB 2.0 port, Ethernet, RF input, optical audio out, and a headphone jack.

For wireless connectivity, both series support dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This allows you to use the Roku app on your phone for easy content sharing and voice search.

Price and Value
Finally, let‘s talk about price and value. There‘s no question the TCL 8 Series commands a premium, with the 65" selling for around $1,800 and the 75" close to $3,000. You‘re paying for top-of-the-line picture quality with Mini-LED, more powerful audio, sleeker design, and a higher-end LCD panel.

Compare that to the TCL 6 Series which offers significant savings. The 55" model starts under $700, with the 65" around $900 and the 75" at $1,400. That‘s roughly half the price of the 8 Series. When you consider the 6 Series‘ quantum dot color, Mini-LED backlight, HDMI 2.1, and THX Game Mode, it‘s an incredible value that‘s hard to beat.

So Which TCL Series Should You Buy?
This brings us to the ultimate question – which TCL TV series is right for you? Here are my recommendations:

If you‘re a home theater enthusiast willing to invest in the best of the best, the TCL 8 Series is a compelling choice. It‘s bright Mini-LED backlight and uncompromising contrast make for an incredible HDR viewing experience that rivals OLED. The powerful built-in audio and premium design are icing on the cake.

For most people, however, I think the TCL 6 Series hits the sweet spot between performance and price. It delivers a top-tier 4K HDR picture with quantum dot color and Mini-LED for a price that seriously undercuts the competition. Gamers will love the HDMI 2.1 support and THX Game Mode. Unless you‘re putting the TV in a dedicated home theater room and willing to pay a hefty premium, the 6 Series is the better value.

Sports fans and gamers who want the smoothest motion should favor the 8 Series and 6 Series over cheaper TCL models, since they have true 120Hz panels. Also, if you‘re sensitive to "dirty screen effect" or gray uniformity issues, the 8 Series and 6 Series use higher-grade LCD panels that exhibit cleaner, more consistent screens.

On the flip side, if you don‘t need 120Hz or advanced gaming features, you can save even more money with TCL‘s 5 Series. It still delivers a great 4K HDR picture, just with a 60Hz panel and standard LED backlight instead of Mini-LED. It‘s available in smaller sizes too, starting at 50".

Ultimately, I don‘t think you can go wrong with either the TCL 8 Series or 6 Series. Having extensively tested and reviewed both, I‘m continually impressed by the picture quality and user experience they offer for the money. TCL has established itself as one of the best TV brands by focusing on the features that really matter to home theater fans and gamers.

That said, the 6 Series is probably the best choice for the vast majority of people. It delivers close to 8 Series picture quality and more features than most people will ever need for hundreds less. If you‘ve been looking to upgrade to a gorgeous 4K HDR smart TV and have a budget between $600 and $1,500, you‘ll be thrilled with the TCL 6 Series.