|12 months ago, Hisense jolted the TV market highly affordable under $5000 UHD TVs (58" and 65") - but this year its going bigger. |
UHD or '4K' (3840 x 2160) as it is commonly known, has four-times the resolution of Full HD and is the next big thing in TV display technology. Other specs in the new T910 series are: Google OS, built-in WiFi, Dolby Digital audio, 3D, inputs/ouputs including HDMI, USB, Ethernet / LAN Input, AV Input, and VGA, built in multimedia player and 8GB storage.
The larger Hisense (T910 Series) UHD Android TV's RRP at $8999 for 75" and $11999 for the larger 85", cheaper than rival better known brands. LG's 85" costs around the $14,000 mark while a 79" LG UHD sells for circa $10K.
However, retailers may interpret these RRPs differently, says Iannuzzi, meaning we could see the 85" UHD sell for under $10,000.
"Its a competitive market," but with prices going down its a "win win for the consumer".
UHD is a big growth category in TV's and appears to be the screen technology moving forwards - eclipsing Plasma (dead) OLED (pricey) and Curved (too niche).
While rival brands focused on technologies like OLED and Curved TV, Hisense has been championing UHD technology since the very beginning.
It delivers sharper pictures, more pixels per inch - and the consumer understands the higher resolution quality and that Ultra High Def becomes "more meaningful" on large screen TV's.
The Chinese brand witnessed "strong success" with last year's 65" UHD TV model which now sells for an astonishingly low $2198 at JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys - a staggering price crash the original RRP a year ago.
Hisense UHD TV's are the only Google-certified Android TV available in Australia, a feature which has driven momentum and piqued consumer interest - especially from Android fans, says Iannuzzi.
The Google TV's is also attracting the Android 'power user' who are "digging deep" and customizing the TV, which features all apps - YouTube, voice search, Play store and Chrome browser.
Having the Google ecosystem ready built in the TV allows Hisense to compete on a level playing field against top brands like LG, Samsung and Sony, despite its lesser known brand name.
However, several big names including Sony and Philips are set to release Android TV's and compatible devices this year, on the new Google 'L' platform.
But Hisense isn't worried.
"We were never going to have the OS exclusive forever," but it's a "testament to the technology" that others are joining the wagon, says its Head of Marketing. "We're curious to see where the market will go."
Retailers, too, have been hugely supportive of Android TV's and Hisense's recently entry into Myer, Harvey Norman and Bing Lee has helped the brand, along with existing partners JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys.
But content is still king.
"The availability of content will kick UHD into a higher gear," says Iannuzzi. Lack of 4K ready content is one of the drawbacks of the technology, and internet streaming capabilities in Australia.
However, there are 4K apps in development, currently in testing. Hisense's Netflix app on US TV models is launching in 4K and the streaming service is said to be coming down under, early next year.
But "if there are still issues with NBN infrastructure then 4K may be a struggle," he admits.
There is plenty more to come from the Chinese brand, who are about to unveil a mystery new Android device, which is an extension of a device launched last year. It will be unveiled in the coming weeks.