OnePlus TV

What you need to know

  • OnePlus TV will run an 'optimized' Android TV skin with seamless connectivity with OnePlus phones.
  • The TV will feature a QLED panel and will work as a giant smart display.
  • OnePlus is positioning its TV against Samsung and Sony, and it says the pricing will be on par with other premium TVs.

The OnePlus TV is set to be unveiled sometime next month, and the company is starting to dole out details regarding the product. In an interview with Gadgets360, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau outlined his vision for the TV as a product:

If you think about what's going to happen in five to ten years, I believe the TV is no longer the TV, it will be a smart display. It will have all the information that you have, including your note, your reminder, and maybe when you wake up, the TV will automatically tell you that this is your whole day's schedule, and it will actively give you everything that you need, versus being passive (and) show what you want to see.

The OnePlus TV will act as an entertainment hub and a smart display all rolled into one — sort of a supersized Nest Hub:

I think in the future, at a person's house he or she is no longer going to have one or two displays, they may have multiple displays in several rooms and each room may display different things — but all the displays are connected to each other.

Which is the reason why we want to do a TV — I don't have any interest in doing a traditional TV like others.

A key differentiator for the OnePlus TV will be its user interface: the TV will run an optimized version of Android TV with custom features like seamless connectivity with OnePlus phones:

One more key selling point that I want to highlight is that we are really optimising the Android TV system which I don't see a lot of brands in Indian market (doing). Because of our great partnership with Google, not only do we use their Android TV system but we also optimise it very deeply.

We really want to take advantage of the current strong user base of OnePlus smartphones and to really improve what the current TV doesn't have, which is good interactions and user experience specially connecting with your smartphone and we want to improve that, and I believe that's going to be our advantage

Lau also mentioned that the goal with the OnePlus TV is to provide image and sound quality on par with the "most premium quality products" as well as a great user experience. To that effect, OnePlus has announced that the OnePlus TV will feature a QLED panel, like high-end Samsung TVs:

I've seen some premium or high-end TVs currently available in the market. Some of the TVs might have great quality but in terms of user experience they are not doing very well. And vice versa — I've seen some TVs may have great user experience but they are not very high-end or premium. But for us to do a great TV the definition is — great quality and great user experience. So this is what we want to achieve as the first step.

I've talked to so many TV users and talking about what they expect from a smart TV — they are still thinking about image quality and sound quality as the first and most important feature. So for us, we want to benchmark the image and sound quality against the most premium quality products currently available in the market and then we are going to provide a very great user experience.

It's obvious that OnePlus is positioning its TV as an alternative to the likes of Samsung and Sony, which is a smart move. The budget TV segment in India is getting increasingly crowded, and instead of duking it out with Xiaomi and Vu, OnePlus is chasing loftier goals. That plays into its brand strategy as a whole, and allows the manufacturer to eke out better margins. From Lau:

In terms of pricing, we want to benchmark against the most premium products available in the market, which means we are benchmarking against Samsung and Sony. Because of the strategic partnership with Amazon, our price may be slightly cheaper than their (Sony and Samsung) products, but it won't be half the price.

We are going to focus on the premium positioning, and we are only focusing on the flagship premium positioning. Like I mentioned, we want to benchmark our products against Samsung and Sony — those high-end premium products and we don't necessarily benchmark against some lower tier products.

Judging by Lau's remarks around the user interface, it looks like the optimizations to Android TV will offer a lot of advantages:

If I wanna highlight one feature, it will be premium quality plus great user experience. I wanna highlight that we have really great content Internet experience. Like I mentioned, we benchmark against Sony's sound quality and Samsung's image quality — so we are taking advantage of our competitors' advantages, and then we compare our advantages to their advantages, and make their advantage to become ours.

The OnePlus TV is set to make its debut in the Indian market, followed by other regions. India is the company's largest market, and Lau says the company is "very confident that we did very good job on the content integration with content providers" in the country:

We've been thinking about making a TV for about two years and one of the reasons behind making a TV is we want to focus the key scenarios for a person's daily life, and TV is one of the most important ones. There are four key scenarios — mobile, home, car, and office. I think in the future, the Internet experience for the users in terms of the four scenarios will get more and more seamless.

As for the home Internet experience, I think in the past over ten years, there hasn't been a significant change to this specific scenario. So, in the future how are we going to merge home Internet and mobile Internet will be the major trend. Who can be the ring leader to make the change — I think it's a smartphone company.

The reason why I said a smartphone company will be a ring leader is because people use their smartphones every single day and a smartphone company will have a better understanding of how to improve the user experience. But in terms of TV companies — especially the traditional TV companies — they don't necessarily have this kind of layer to think about improvements of the user experience. I think that's a huge advantage for a smartphone company like us.

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