Hisense Plans December Release of R8F Flagship Series TVs
Hisense will begin sales at mid-month in December of its premium R8F Series 4K Roku TVs in 55- and 65-inch sizes – the brand’s first 4K ULED Roku TV models. These flagship products, according to Jim Ninesling, head of marketing & product marketing, support HDR10 and combine the company’s best color, brightness, contrast and motion-smoothness processing in 60Hz native panels with the latest Roku TV content platform.
The sets use Hisense’s Hi-View engine, which, according to Chris Porter, director of product management, automatically optimizes picture and audio settings based on the content being viewed without any action required by the viewer.
They also bring to the market improved ULED specifications, with brightness levels increased for the 65-inch set from 400 nits to 700 nits. Off-axis viewing has also been enhanced so that the picture looks consistent when viewed from any angle. Porter also said the R8F Series is the first for Hisense to include Dolby Atmos decoding as a built-in feature, whereas earlier models had offered Dolby Atmos pass-through. The sets feature two downfiring drivers in a tuned enclosure using Dolby embedded timbre cues, and decoding initiates automatically when encoded content is detected.
The Roku TV platform, as of Q3, is currently deployed in 32.3 million households, said Brian Kemp, director of Roku TV public relations – up from 30.5 million in Q2. It gives viewers access to a half-million-plus movies and TV episodes via thousands of both paid and free TV channels. Convenience features that come with Roku TV include Roku Voice control, which permits users to do tasks such as set a sleep timer with a vocal command. Search for genres or other content topics is possible via a new Zone architecture that was recently established this fall as a method of curating content by category. Kemp adds that Apple Watch control has also been launched, as well as a Private Listening feature that enables audio to be ported to earbuds via the Roku mobile app when the listener does not wish to disturb others.
Another convenient feature – especially useful for when the set is placed atop furniture that is narrower than the TV itself – is the fact that the feet are adjustable to be made either wider or narrower.
The TVs are being made available first through Amazon.com and Walmart.com at $699.99 (65-inch) and $499.99 (55-inch), and then, through brick-and-mortar distribution beginning in Q1 of 2020. They join other Hisense series in the U.S. market, and Ninesling tells Dealerscope that the brand is making its mark in aggregate in overall unit share positioning among U.S. TV brands; it has moved up to #5 versus #7 last year, with year-over-year unit growth up 60 percent in value.
Ninesling also Hisense was “in a fortunate position regarding tariffs, because we’re manufacturing in Mexico. Our price-points are possible due to our manufacturing scope and scale; we’re in a competitively advantageous position.”