- OnePlus wants to bring a change in the general TV viewing experience with the OnePlus TV.
- OnePlus promises superior software experience mated to world-class hardware in the OnePlus TV.
- At the beginning, OnePlus will only come out with a single size of the OnePlus TV.
It's official even if OnePlus CEO Pete Lau wouldn't yet confirm it. Contrary to all the wild rumours that hinted at OnePlus TV launching in September in India with screen sizes of 43-inch and 55-inch, the official word is that OnePlus will launch only one smart and premium TV for now. In India this TV will have a screen size of 55-inch, a detail shared by OnePlus on Twitter, and it will be a premium TV with QLED display, Android TV OS comparable to, says Lau, "the premium TVs sold by big TV brands like Samsung and Sony."
Some details about the upcoming OnePlus TV are available but most of the key bits are not known. The key bits, though, aren't that important right now. They will be once people go out to buy the OnePlus TV when it comes to market in early October -- launch is likely in late September in India -- but for now, Lau believes that OnePlus fans need to understand what the OnePlus TV is going to stand for. He says that it is going to stand for everything that OnePlus phones stand for: solid basics, premium experience at a relatively better price and great attention to detail.
Just like the OnePlus phones, says Lau, the OnePlus TV will be "smooth and fast". It will come with software that is a delight to use and does not fight with users.
Just like how it was at the beginning for OnePlus phones, to start with, there will be only one variant of OnePlus TV. "For now our approach is going to be one-market-one-TV. We will launch the OnePlus TV with a screen size in India that is most appropriate for Indian users who are looking to get a premium TV. And in this TV we want to give the people the best that is possible while keeping the TV price reasonable."
For now, Lau will not talk about the price or the exact screen size. But as I spoke with him in his room in a 5-star Mumbai hotel, I pointed at an expensive Samsung TV in front of me and asked him to compare the OnePlus TV with it. "Definitely better and bigger than that. We have a different set of image quality and design standards in mind. Our TV is better than what we see in front of us," Lau said, hinting that not only the OnePlus TV is going to be bigger than a 45-inch TV but it is also likely going to be more dynamic looking.
The size was later revealed by OnePlus India on its Twitter page. This turns out to be 55-inch. The details of the resolution have not been revealed but Lau is clear. OnePlus is "benchmarking OnePlus TV against the best" and that not only means the OnePlus TV using QLED display -- it is confirmed by the company -- but also certain to sport 4K resolution.
Why one Plus TV?
Before OnePlus CEO Lau would talk of what his company is putting in the OnePlus TV, he spoke of why at all a new TV was required in an already crowded market. The reasons are both commercial and personal.
OnePlus believes that TV is going to be a device that will be at the centre of our digital lives once it has been reinvented to connect to mobile phones, IoT products like smart bulbs and other gadgets in the home. That is the key reason why the company is going to launch a smart premium TV in late September in India. That sort of role for TV is still "4-5 years away" believes Lau.
But that is not the only reason. OnePlus is also launching a new TV because for Pete Lau it is personal. He is fed up of all TVs -- and particularly the one from a big TV brand that he uses -- that are available in the market right now.
We will launch the OnePlus TV with a screen size in India that is most appropriate for Indian users who are looking to get a premium TV
"Traditional TV experience is horrible. The TVs are slow, often their picture quality is not good, the remotes are ugly. They lack one thing or other," he says while pointing at a remote of a set-top box kept on the tablet in front of him. "When I bought the TV that I use I found the experience frustrating. It is slow. It is as if the whole industry has ignored fastness and smoothness in TV software. Also, no brand has achieved a good combination of image quality and smart software."
OnePlus TV: Faster, smarter seamless connectivity
Given that most of the TVs, even the premium TVs, lack this or that right now, with the OnePlus TV Lau hopes to give consumers a devices that will be better than the rest when it comes software and speed, and will at least match the best image quality offered by some of the top premium TVs.
How OnePlus hopes to do that is by focussing on some key core areas. For hardware, these core areas are image quality, sound quality and design. For software experience, these core areas are content, smoothness and interconnectivity.
"To ensure that OnePlus TV delivers on the image quality part, we are using QLED screen in it. Consumers believe that QLED is one of the best technologies available and that is what we are going to give to them," says Lau. He will not go into specifics of the OnePlus TV screen, but it is almost certain that the QLED panel in the TV will come from Samsung, which has perfected the technology and also uses it in its own premium TVs. As noted earlier, the size of the OnePlus TV screen is going to be 55 inches and it is certain to use 4K resolution.
The hardware quality one the OnePlus TV is top-notch, asserts Lau. "We apply the same standards to the TV that we use for our phones. The manufacturing cost of a usual remote is around Rs 200. But the remote we are using for OnePlus TV has a cost that is nearly 10X because we are using quality component and manufacturing process tuned for best experience," he says.
The picture quality, although important, is just one part of the portrait that Pete Lau paints for the OnePlus TV. Software and content is also key, and in these areas too, Lau is hoping to break some new ground. "OnePlus phones are known for speed and we feel that OnePlus TV will be equally fast. It is using Android TV OS but we have worked with Google to improve the speed and smoothness of the software significantly," says Lau.
OnePlus has also added a number of features to the Android TV OS it is going to use in the OnePlus TV. "A television and mobile phone should connect seamlessly. With the launch of the OnePlus TV we are going to own both pieces of equation and that will separate our TV as well as our phones from others. A OnePlus phone and OnePlus TV will connect seamlessly. For example, you will be able to type on your OnePlus phone to do searches on the OnePlus TV," says Lau.
OnePlus phones are known for speed and we feel that OnePlus TV will be equally fast. It is using Android TV OS but we have worked with Google to improve the speed and smoothness of the software significantly
Finally, there is the content part. The content is one reason why OnePlus TV will be launched first in India before it goes to any other country. OnePlus has managed to get content deals with its partners for India. "We have a good reputation. OnePlus brand is well respected and our user base is strong and influential. This helped us get the right content partnerships," says Lau. Yet again he is shying away from discussing specifics but it is easy to guess that OnePlus TV will come integrated with Amazon Prime considering that it will be sold online exclusively through Amazon India website.
One more thing...
This one more thing -- and arguably the most important thing -- is price and OnePlus is not yet ready to reveal it. "We have not yet finalised the price but we have a range in mind," says Lau. "OnePlus TV will not be cheap, it is a premium product created using quality materials. All of that cost money, but there are ways we save cost. We will sell the TV on Amazon so we save some channel cost. This is similar to how we save cost on OnePlus phones. So, we will price OnePlus TV lower compared to other premium TVs in its class."
That is all Lau will say about the price of the OnePlus TV for now. For anything, more OnePlus fans will have to wait until its launch. Thankfully the launch is likely just a month away.