OnePlus is making a Smart TV
OnePlus TV or OneDumb idea?
Chinese phone maker OnePlus has announced that they are planning to enter the TV market, sometime in 2019.
The news was announced via a blog post on the OnePlus website The post gave no indication of what such a TV would be like. It would be safe to assume it would be 4K with some sort of HDR. However no word on screen size, the OS it will run or even if it will be a range or just a single model.
OnePlus founder and CEO Pete Lau stated: “At present, we feel the current market of TVs is still feeling quite traditional in their functionality and experience. And they haven't really well-integrated the internet into the experience, and making the experience match with what would be expected in today's connected society.” (From: OnePlus)
Pretty bold words. Every TV manufacturer has been attempting to integrate TVs into ‘todays connected society’ for the past half a decade. Even non-TV manufacturers, the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple are all spending millions on creating Boxes that plug into a TV and connect it to a world of apps, live video and on-demand content. With such fighting talk, OnePlus really needs to come out with something very good to pull consumers away from there current Smart TV/Media Box of choice. If OnePlus intend to market this as the best Internet possible on a TV, going up against the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon won't be easy.
Chinese companies have proven that you don't need to be Samsung, Sony or LG to sell a lot of TVsIt might seem strange to see a company who has only ever produced phones turning towards TV manufacturing. Companies such as Sony, Samsung and LG all have TV and smartphone divisions. However, these companies were manufacturing TVs long before smartphones. It's unusual to see a Smartphone maker pivot towards TVs.
However, whilst OnePlus has only ever focused on smartphone manufacturing its not the first time that Oppo, OnePlus’ parent company, has been involved in the home AV market. Until 2018, Oppo built and sold some of the best HD and 4K Blu-ray players available. Built like tanks, the Oppo Blu-ray players were fan favourites for their performance and features. We reviewed the Oppo UDP-203 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player in 2017 and gave it a highly recommended badge.
Chinese manufacturers have, for the past decade, been slowly gaining ground in the TV manufacturing market. Whilst Samsung and LG still reign supreme as the two leading TV panel makers, TCL is now third with Hisense fourth. And it's not just market share where Chinese electronics manufacturers are making a mark. While older TV brands struggle to compete with better and cheaper Chinese TVs, Chinese companies are happy to swoop in and buy stock or brand rights. In 2015 Hisense acquired the right to sell televisions, in the Americas, under the Sharp brand. In 2017 the company bought a 95% stake in Toshiba’s TV division.
A large reason for this success is that much of the world's electronic goods are manufactured in China. As such Chinese companies have quick and cheap access to the factories that produce components. So-called ‘vertical integration’ is easy to achieve when your management, design and production departments are all in one city. In OnePlus’ case, Shenzhen, the home of Chinese manufacturing.
The OnePlus brand has good ‘visibility’ all around the world. Oppo has had a lot of success in Asian markets but selling an Oppo TV wouldn't gain much attention in Europe or North America. Oppo simply lacks brand recognition in these markets. A OnePlus TV though, that gets a lot of attention. Combine that with Oppo’s large production capabilities, vertical integration and the fact that other Chinese companies have proven that you don't need to be Samsung, Sony or LG to sell a lot of TVs.
The TV market is heavily competitive with tiny profit margins and a slightly slower upgrade cycle than with smartphones. However OnePlus, and Oppo, have proven themselves to be adaptable in the equally competitive smartphone market. Will this gamble pay off?
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.