The U.S. retail market is making way for Hisense’s first wave of premium 4K TVs.
Leading the charge for the Chinese manufacturer is its flagship H9D Plus Ultra LED (ULED), which was introduced at CES 2017 and is now muscling its way onto TV walls in showrooms across the country.
“A number of retailers have picked it up,” understated Mark Viken, marketing VP at Hisense USA. Customers include P.C. Richard & Son, Nebraska Furniture Mart, B&H Photo and, by the end of the month, Best Buy, where the edge-lit H9D Plus will be going up against video mainstays LG, Samsung and Sony.
Viken’s take: Bring the comparisons on, as the H9 series “is as good as anything in the market.” Backing that up is a feature set on the H9D Plus that includes HDR, wide color gamut, up to 480Hz motion rate, local dimming, a proprietary smart platform, and DBX-TV audio — all with the added benefit of a competitive price step.
Suggested retails are $999 for the 50-inch model, $1,299 for the 55-inch set, $1,999 for the 65-inch display, and $2,499 for the 74-inch top-of-the-line panel. And to get things off to a brisk start, an instant rebate offer brings the 65-incher down to $1,499.
Hisense’s Viken: ULEDs “as good as anything in the market.”
Viken said the rollout of the H9D Plus is central to the brand’s plan to move up-market, but without abandoning the value products that helped get Hisense’s foot in the door. The premium push continued with last month’s introduction of a 100-inch, $9,999 4K Laser TV at CEDIA, which copped a Best of Show nod from TWICE and sister pub Residential Systems, and the release of its next-gen R6 Roku TV.
Also in the pipeline: The 75-inch H10D ULED, the ultra-premium successor to the Hisense crown. With a quantum-dot display, HDR 10, and a peak brightness of 2,000 nits, Viken described the set as “the ultimate LCD TV.” But it won’t come cheap: The H10D is expected to carry a UPP retail of $5,999.
At the same time, Viken said Hisense remains happy with and committed to its Sharp-branded TV business, which it plans to double after two years into a five-year licensing pact.
Meanwhile, on the appliance side, the company is moving beyond dehumidifiers and compact refrigerators with a full-size, counter-depth French door fridge, presently available at BrandsMart USA.
To help support the vendor’s burgeoning product line, Hisense has doubled the efficiency of its Sharp-built TV plant in Rosarito, Mexico, and is doubling the size of its U.S. field support team.
On the marketing front, the company continues to reap the benefits of its official sports sponsorships, which include three years with NASCAR, support for the Evil Geniuses e-sports team and, most recently, a corporate affiliation with the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and U.S. Soccer here at home.
Hisense is no slouch in social media either, Viken noted, and is reaching millions of consumers through its sponsorship of the wildly popular “People Are Awesome” channel on YouTube.
All told, Hisense’s sales, as well as messaging, appear on track. “We offer great value, great products and still provide some profit for retailers,” he said.