New York – Hisense used an open house for the press here Wednesday to formally unveil its 2012 TV line, consisting of 19 SKUs across eight different industrial design series.
The broad offering of looks and price positions will help Hisense deliver exclusive model classes to some bigger national and regional accounts to help avoid head-to-head price competition between dealers and distribution channels handling the lines, explained Peter Erdman, Hisense USA consumer electronics VP.
For now, the arrangement will enable Hisense to go to market without the need of minimum advertized pricing (MAP) or unilateral pricing policies (UPP) that are typically leveraged to avert channel conflicts, said JoAnne Foist, Hisense USA marketing director, even as one series of TVs is about to break with Amazon.
Hisense is also diversifying its branded assortment by presenting a wide range of features and functions, including smart TVs using several different software platforms, and 3D capability in models that can be designed for either active-shutter or passive-type 3D glasses.
One of the biggest strengths of the brand is the substantial resources that stand behind being the world’s sixth largest TV manufacturer, the company said.
Hisense is one of the largest TV producers in China, and it will make the point clear next year with the presentation of a line of 4K by 2K (2,160p) edge-lit ultra high-resolution LED LCD TVs, slated to appear at International CES in January.
Hisense has arranged to take over the significant booth space vacated by Microsoft.
During the open house in New York, Hisense showed a 50-inch LCD with 4K native resolution, in an XT880 model series slated for the first quarter of 2013.
The ultra high-resolution displays combine an ARM dual-core microprocessor with the Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS for smart TV applications. The XT880 series will include models with 50-, 58-, and 65-inch screen sizes and will have active-shutter 3D capability, and a detachable camera that supports facial recognition, gesture control and services such as Skype video calling.
Hisense said pricing on all products will be announced later.
In the meantime, the current flagship of the line is a 65-inch FullHD 1080p edge-lit LED LCD TV with a 240Hz refresh rate and ultra-thin bezel design in the company’s K560 series. Amazon will launch the set, shortly, Erdman said.
The series will also include a 55-inch version (55K560RW) with passive-glasses-based 3D, LED edge lighting, SmartTV capability, 1080p resolution and a 60Hz fresh rate.
Chris Porter, Hisense product manager, said the company will unveil a next-generation 65-inch set at International CES with a built-in GoogleTV platform and 576 zones of local dimming.
“We try to benchmark ourselves against the tier-one [brands] in terms of features, performance and industrial designs,” Porter said. “You don’t see too many others who are able to do that at tier-two or three right now.”
For now the company is offering GoogleTV capability through a puck-like outboard set-top device called the Pulse, which is due in November.
First shown at Berlin’s IFA show last August, the “under $99” GoogleTV adapter features a range of resolutions from 480i to 1080p. It requires an HDMI connection to a TV to view a picture, but also adds USB and Ethernet ports for connections to data storage devices and broadband routers, respectively. It also will connect wirelessly to Wi-Fi networks.
The device includes a double-sided remote, with a full QWERTY keyboard on one side, and a touchpad and dedicated Netflix button on the other.
Other new TV classes include the 32-inch D12 720p LED LCD TV and the K316 series of 3D Smart TVs with smart TV functionality and Wi-Fi. Both series are currently available at hhgregg. The K316 models include the 42-, 46- and 50-inch screen sizes.
The budget-priced K310 series features 39- and 50-inch 2D LED edge-lit LCD TVs with Hisense’s Dynamic Contrast technology, Full HD resolution and three HDMI connections – one of which is an MHL-enabled for connection to a smartphone or tablet. The K310 models will go on sale in January.
Meanwhile, the K360 series offers 2D FullHD 120Hz LED-edge-lit LCD screens measuring 40- and 50-inches.
The 50-inch model also adds 120Hz SmoothMotion technology smooth fast action, two standard HDMI inputs and USB Movie.
The K360 series will be available in late November.
The K366 series, which just shipped into Walmart stores, adds to the K360 package Smart TV apps, streaming and search. Screen sizes include 50- and 40-inches. The 50-inch includes 120Hz SmoothMotion, three standard HDMI inputs, built-in Digital Media Player with DLNA support, and a Digital Media Receiver that enables users to ‘beam’ music, video and photos from any Android or iOS device on the same network up onto the big screen without the need to view the smartphone or tablet screen to share media.
The 40-inch K366 model offers a 60Hz refresh rate. The series also includes 32- and 46-inch versions but the 40- and 50-inch models are the only two that Walmart has chose at this time, Porter said.
The T770 series offers screen sizes of 55 and 42 inches, both featuring ultra-thin bezels, 120Hz SmoothMotion, FullHD 1080p resolution, and active-shutter-glasses-based 3D capability with real-time 2D-to-3D conversion.
Other features include four HDMI inputs, built-in Wi-Fi, USB and DLNA enabled Digital Media Player with support for music, photos and e-books.
A Smart Remote app lets viewers use their smartphone as a full-function QWERTY remote.