After months of teasing and rumors, the OnePlus TV has been unveiled with a 4K LCD panel with quantum dots, Android TV, an OxygenPlay app, and 50W speakers. A 55-inch TV will cost around $1000.
The OnePlus TV
In many ways the new TV is a characterization of OnePlus as a company. It takes off-the-shelves parts and puts everything into an attractive-looking package.
- "We did not want to make an ordinary smart TV. We wanted to make a TV that would meet the highest standard in the industry," Pete Lau, OnePlus CEO, told an audience at the launch event.
Does it qualify as "highest standard"? With the OnePlus TV, the company has taken a 4K LCD panel (VA-type) with a quantum dot film - as you would find in Samsung TVs. In addition, it has taken a system-on-chip solution from MediaTek (MT5670), which powers the built-in Android TV platform, developed by Google. Competing Android TV brands such as Sony and Philips also use MediaTek chips.
The MediaTek chip offers Android 9, and support for all four relevant HDR video formats (HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, and Dolby Vision). It also supports Dolby Atmos processing.
The key question, of course, is how it works. We have yet to see the OnePlus TV in action but we can make some educated guesses. The 4K LCD panel is unlikely to set new standards for picture quality. OnePlus says that it has local dimming and it would appear that we are looking at less than 100 dimming zones, which is not a lot compared to competing LCD TVs, and no match for pixel-level control in OLED TVs that can be had for almost the same price as the OnePlus TV.
OnePlus did not specify peak brightness but said that it can reach almost full DCI-P3 coverage. Still, we are not optimistic about its HDR picture quality. The company added that the TV is equipped with 4 HDMI 2.0 ports. The TV supports HDMI eARC, too.
Android TV with OxygenPlay
The "unique Android TV" experience that OnePlus promised involves stock Android TV - manufacturers are not allowed to modify Android TV user interface - with the company's own OxygenPlay app pre-installed. OxygenPlay is a store-front for content such as movie rentals.
Like any other Android TV, the OnePlus TV features built-in Chromecast and Google Assistant as well as access to the Google Play store. OnePlus has created its own remote control, which has dedicated buttons for Google Assistant and Amazon Prime Video. A 'Connect' app for your smartphone will let you control the Android TV and explore content.
- "The OnePlus TV Remote has a minimal design. Gone are the days of conventional TV remotes with unnecessary buttons," the company said.
OnePlus says that it has also developed a system that automatically reduces the volume of the TV when you are getting a phone call. Unique? Perhaps. Useful? Hardly. We mean, why would everyone stop watching TV just because one person in the living room receives a phone call?
Coming later to the US & Europe
The OnePlus TV has a "nearly bezel-less screen", the company said. The TV can be either wall mounted or fitted on a dock with a circular base at the bottom of a pole designed to hold up the TV.
The TV features 4 built-in speaker units, including two woofers, for a total output of 50W in a 2.1-channel system. In addition, the company will sell a more expensive 'Pro' version with a sliding soundbar and 8 built-in units.
With the OnePlus TV, yet another Chinese electronics brand enters a TV market dominated by two South Korean companies. While TCL and Hisense have gained foothold outside China, new entrants such as Huawei and OnePlus hope to use their strong position in the smartphone market as a way to expand into other segments.
Can OnePlus challenge the big boys? We will have to wait a little longer to find out. A 55-inch 'OnePlus TV Q1 Series' is available now in India for INR 69,900 (approx. $1,000) or 99,900 (approx. $1,400) for the Pro version. It is coming later to North America, Europa, and China. Listing reveals that OnePlus is planning to launch 43, 55, 65, and 75-inch models.
OnePlus TV Q1 - specifications
LCD panel with quantum dot film
4K resolution (3840x2160)
HDR support: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision
Colors: NTSC 120% - 96% DCI-P3
Black Crystal anti-glare
Gamma Color Magic picture processor
4x HDMI 2.0 (HDMI2 supports eARC)
50W sound output
4 units (8 units in OnePlus TV Pro)
Support for Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS-HD
Google Play Store
Google Assistant built-in; Works with Alexa