Hisense, the Chinese electronics company which two years ago expanded beyond OEM manufacturing to launch its own brand in the U.S., will step up its product line deployment stateside for the holiday sales season with the availability of the Hisense Pulse with Google TV set-top box that allows viewers to both “smarten” their legacy flat-panel TVs and access any of 2,000 TV-optimized apps from the Google Play store, via a minimally layered interface.
The $99 device, packaged with a dual-sided remote featuring a touchpad on one side and a QWERTY keyboard on the other, uses the Google Chrome web browser. It features built-in Wi-Fi along with other connectivity options including HDMI input and output, USB and Ethernet. It is being sold initially through Amazon.com, said Peter Erdman, Hisense USA vice president; the company is also in discussions with other dealers.
Hisense makes flat panels ranging in size from 24 to 65 inches, and will refresh its total lineup, come the 2013 International CES. Meanwhile, it will roll out two additional designs – its flagships – soon; they were showcased in New York City Thursday in their 55-inch versions, along with the Google TV box.
The flagship designs include the T770 active-shutter 3D HDTV/Smart TV, shown in its 55-inch version and available as well in a 42-inch screen size; the 55-inch model is destined for Costco’s shelves, with arrival time as yet unannounced. The other flagship is the K560 3D HDTV/Smart TV, shown in the 55-inch SKU (60Hz; passive 3D) and to be made available as well in a 65-inch 240Hz active-3D version; the 55-inch will be sold through Amazon.com in the November-December timeframe. Both designs offer 2D-to-3D conversion capability and built-in digital media players with USB ports on the sets’ back.
Also highlighted in the New York demos was a 50-inch 4K active-3D UHD (Ultra High Definition) TV, Model XT880, which will begin shipping in China next month. The set, which will eventually be produced in 58- and 65-inch screen sizes, combines an ARM dual-core microprocessor with the Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS. It also features a detachable camera that supports facial recognition, voice recognition/control, gesture control and Skype functions. A U.S. introduction timetable is still undetermined, said Chris Porter, product manager, but he added that the 65-inch version would be shown at CES and that it would be production-ready by the end of March. He noted that the image quality and feature set of the TV would make it suitable for possible sale through the CEDIA channel. At CES, Hisense also plans to show a fully integrated Google TV solution.