OnePlus TV sets will come with a premium quality and user experience, but won’t be cheap. This is the latest marketing message relayed by the company.
The details come from a recent interview with OnePlus CEO, Pete Lau. As part of his comments, Lau made it clear potential TV buyers should not expect traditional OnePlus pricing.
OnePlus has previously managed to straddle the quality/price barrier with smartphones, but the company does not expect to replicate this with TVs. OnePlus says it wants its TVs to be comparable to the best – Lau name-dropped Samsung and Sony in this respect – and suggested the pricing will also be comparable to those best companies.
Lau did say it is likely OnePlus TVs will be cheaper than similar devices by those companies. That's cheaper, not cheap.
In return, Lau is promising TV buyers a premium quality and experience. The premium quality aspect is mostly in relation to visual and audio quality. Which makes sense considering this is a TV.
On the experience side, Lau is defining premium as an elevated Android TV experience. Yes, Lau does confirm the TV will run on official Android TV but makes the point that it doesn’t want a generic version of the platform. Instead, the company is aiming for an “improved” Android TV experience.
Unique Android TV
Focusing on words like “improved” and “unique” does not offer any real information on what buyers can expect.
Official Android TV by definition is not something that is custom or unique. That is, unless the product-maker opts for more of an operator version of Android TV – as seen with AT&T’s new set-top box. However, this is an extremely uncommon move by TV-makers as it is often tied to services. Again, AT&T being an example. AT&T’s box is an AT&T TV box, not an Android TV box, although it does run on Android TV.
The language used by OnePlus would highly indicate this is going to go down a similar route as an operator or service provider set-top box. This could mean it will be heavily reliant on OnePlus services.
OnePlus TV more smart display than TV
Lau also seemed to indicate the company is approaching its TV product as more of a smart display than a TV. Again, it remains to be seen what exactly is meant by this other than the TV will be a central focal point of the home and not just the living room.
OnePlus has previously made similar comments hinting at the idea of more of a connected TV than the connected TVs that are already available.
Interestingly, what was probably the most revealing comment was the suggestion that cheaper TVs tend to have a better user experience (thanks to a reliance on platforms like Android TV, Fire TV and Roku) but suffer in the quality department. This is in contrast to premium TVs (presumably from Samsung, LG and Sony) that while checking the quality box, lack in the experience.
Combining both within one product is exactly where OnePlus believes it can squeeze into the market.