The company hopes to put the 'Ultra' in LED
Hisense might well be a name that isn't immediately familiar to most people in the UK but that's about to change.The largest consumer electronics manufacturer in China has big plans and wants to emulate the success of South Korean companies like Samsung and LG, who have gone from budget brands to household names over the last two decades. Hisense was founded in China in 1969 and is now one of the leading manufacturers of flat panel TVs, household appliances (refrigerators/freezers, kitchen appliances), air conditioning units and mobile phones. They continually invest in technological research and development, with an international team of 75,000 employees.
The company has more than 16 production sites and 11 R&D centres around the world, as well as subsidiaries in Europe, North America, Australia, Africa and South East Asia; whilst the company's products are available in over 130 countries. As part of Hisense's plans to expand their presence overseas they built a huge stand at CES 2014 and continued with an equally large presence at this year's show. Hisense have also signed a worldwide sponsorship deal with the Red Bull Formula One team and their recent acquisition of Sharp America shows that they are serious in their ambitions.The name might not be familiar but there was nothing on the Hisense stand to differentiate them from the more established brands.
After increasing their presence at CES, Hisense are now looking to get a similar foothold in the largest European show - IFA. In the run-up to the show itself Hisense announced a number of eye-catching new models including an Ultra HD 4K TV for only £449 and their flagship 65XT910 Ultra HD 4K ULED TV. Since we were at IFA 2015 we took the opportunity to meet up with Hisense, take a look at their stand and find out exactly what the manufacturer plans to launch in the UK during the latter part of this year.
As announced just before IFA, Hisense are coming to the UK with a range of new Ultra HD 4K TVs including the entry-level K321. This TV comes in three screen sizes of 40-, 50- and 55-inches, with attractive prices to boot - £449, £599 and £699 respectively. That's right a 55-inch Ultra HD 4K TV for £699! These TVs use a direct LED backlight and include HEVC and VP9 decoding for 4K services like Netflix and YouTube, whilst there are also HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0 inputs.The Ultra HD 4K XT910 includes all the features you expect from a flagship TV in 2015, including quantum dot and HDR.
Moving up the line there is the K700 which comes in 58 and 65-inch screen sizes and uses edge LED lighting. There is also the K720 which offers the choice of a curved screen and when we asked who they sourced it from, we were informed that Hisense manufacture all their own panels. All of these models will be in stores before Christmas and Hisense have distribution deals with online retailer AO, as well as Richer Sounds, Asda and Argos.
However pride of place went to the Hisense flagship TV the XT910. This Ultra HD 4K TV comes in 65-inch curved screen size and has an attractive design with a slight angle to the screen that is reminiscent of recent models from Panasonic. This LED TV is being marketed under the name ULED and certainly includes all the features you'd expect on a flagship TV. There's local dimming with 240 active zones, there's quantum dot for a wider colour gamut and support for High Dynamic Range (HDR).
There was certainly nothing on the HIsense stand to differentiate its TVs from any of the established brands and the picture quality looked great in the demos that we saw, although a trade show isn't the best place to determine a display's performance. However, with the XT910 arriving in the UK in October, we hope to get a review sample in soon, giving us a chance to see if it lives up to its potential. At this moment what we can say is that, with so many TV manufacturers falling by the wayside, the emergence of a new name offering well made and keenly priced new models has to be a good thing for everyone.
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