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Hisense Goes Big With 4K, HDR, Big Screens At CES

Hisense came to CES with big plans for the U.S. market.

The Chinese company is expanding its 4K Ultra HD selection to 23 SKUs from six, expanding wide-color-gamut models to 11 SKUs from a handful, and offering its first 4K LCD TVs in sizes above 65 inches.

The 2017 4K LCD lineup will include 70-, 75-, and 86-inch models, but screen size will hit 100 inches with a 4K short-throw laser projector packaged with proprietary 100-inch rigid passive screen. The screen brightens the picture to bring laser projectors out of dark rooms.

In expanding its total TV selection to 38 SKUs from 25, Hisense is also offering two 4K TVs that will meet the UHD Alliance’s performance specs, up from one SKU in 2016. Both models will also be the brand’s first TVs designed to achieve THX certification.

In other key developments, Hisense is:

• expanding HDR 10 to all 23 4K models, one of which is the company’s first 4K TV with Dolby Vision HDR;
• expanding quantum-dot technology to two 4K SKUs from one;
• expanding full-array backlighting with local dimming to 12 4K SKUs;
• and bringing the Roku TV OS to 4K TVs for the first time with five models.

In its 2016 line, Hisense offered Roku TV only in select FullHD 1080p models. It is also launching new 1080p Roku models for 2017. All other 2017 smart TVs feature a proprietary smart-TV OS.

Laser Focus: Also in its 2017 lineup, Hisense plans summertime shipments of its first 4K short-throw laser projector, which comes with a rigid 100-inch passive screen with floor stand. The combination boosts peak luminance to 300-350 nits to approach that of mainstream LCD TVs in luminance, the company said. It ships with included surround processor and wireless surround speakers in the summer at an expected suggested $12,999, a price that the company said is only 13 percent to 25 percent of the price of similar-sized LCD TVs. Other short-throw 4K laser projectors are priced at up to $50,000.

The 100H10D laser projector features HDR 10 and a color gamut exceeding 95 percent of P3. Outside the U.S., the company previously offered a similar short-throw laser-projector package with 1080p resolution.

Here’s what’s coming in seven new series of 4K LCD TVs:

H10 series: The top H10 series consists of a 70- and 75-inch model designed to meet Ultra HD Alliance and THX performance standards. The 70-inch model ships in the first quarter at a suggested $3,499, and the 75-inch model ships in the summer at a price that hadn’t been determined at press time. Both model feature quantum-dot displays, HDR 10, wide color gamut, full-array backlighting with local dimming, 480Hz refresh rate, and the company’s suite of ULED display technologies, consisting of 17 patented picture-quality technologies said to improve backlighting and color data from an input signal.

H9 series: Three models will be available in March and April with wide color gamut, HDR 10, ULED picture technologies, edge-lit local dimming, and 240Hz refresh rate. Models will be available in 50-, 55-, and 65-inch sizes at suggested retails of $699, $849, and $1,299. Gamut and HDR specifications were unavailable.

H8 series: Four SKUs are due in the 50-, 55-, 65-, 75- and 86-inch screen sizes in March and April with HDR 10, wide color gamut, and 120Hz refresh rate. Four feature full-array local dimming, and the 86-inch model features edge-lit local dimming. The suggested retails on the 50- to 75-inch models are $549, $649, $999, and $2,499, while the 86-inch model is priced at $5,999 UPP. It adds RS-232. Gamut and HDR specifications were unavailable.

H7 series: Four SKUs feature HDR 10 but lack wide color gamut. They feature 120Hz refresh rate and full-array backlighting without local dimming. Sizes are 43, 50, 55 and 65 inches at suggested retails of $399, $499, $599, and $899, respectively. They ship in March and April.

H6 series: The four-SKU series features HDR 10 and full-array backlighting without local dimming and without wide color gamut. Sizes will be 43, 50, 55 and 65 inches. Prices and ship dates weren’t determined at press time.

R6 series: This four-SKU series of TVs running the Roku TV OS comes in the same sizes as the H6 series and with the same specs but replace Hisense’s smart- TV OS with the Roku OS. The Roku OS is positioned as accessing all of the content of Roku streaming devices, offering intuitive access to content and TV settings, and providing a full web browser. The TVs also offer voice search through Roku’s mobile app. Prices and ship dates weren’t determined at press time.

R8 series: This Roku TV series consists of a 75-inch model that steps up to Dolby Vision HDR, wide color gamut, and full-array back-lit local dimming. Gamut and HDR specifications were unavailable. Price and ship date were undetermined.

In other developments, Hisense is citing a lack of demand for dropping out of the curved-TV market, having offered one such model with 4K in 2016.

The brand also said it will expand this year from North America into Latin America and South America.

Information was unavailable on whether the TVs will support the hybrid log gamma (HLG) HDR technology expected to be used by pay-TV providers and in next-generation ATSC 3.0 over-the-air TV broadcasts.

Sound bars, appliances: Also at CES, Hisense is launching its first four sound bars and talking up plans to expand appliance distribution in the U.S.

The brand’s first four sound bars feature HDMI ARC, optical and coaxial inputs, and prices from $79 to $299, with two models featuring wireless subwoofer. The top model adds wireless surround speakers and began shipping in December 2016. The others ship in March or April.

In appliances, the company said it tested the appliance waters in 2016 with dehumidifiers, portable ACs, wine coolers, and chest freezers in select chains. Hisense also plans to expand its selection of French door refrigerators, having launched its first in the U.S. in 2016.