There’s a new kid on the block. And the Chinese TV brand, Hisense, is set on achieving the seemingly impossible: offering the same quality as the big players – Samsung and LG – while hugely undercutting their prices.
Samsung’s most expensive 55-inch TV among our reviews costs £1,399 and LG’s a massive £1,899, but the priciest one from Hisense is just £663.
‘Too good to be true’, you may say. But you only have to look at how the smartphone market has shifted in recent years to see the possibilities.
The rise of cheaper Chinese phone brands, such as Huawei and OnePlus, has encroached on the dominance of Apple and Samsung. You can now pay less for a handset without compromising on quality. And TVs could be heading in the same direction.
So should you all be going out to buy a Hisense TV? The short answer – no. The better answer – not yet.
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Hisense – a brand with big aspirations
This is a young brand with big aspirations. And while many budget brands simply rebadge TVs that roll out of an unnamed factory, Hisense has the advantage of in-house research and development, akin to that of the major TV brands (albeit on a smaller scale). This gives them the chance to correct mistakes and improve – the process of trial and error will be key in the coming years.
That’s matched with a growing awareness of the brand in the UK and across Europe. If you watched last year’s Euros football tournament, you may have noticed its sponsorship plastered around the stadiums. Or in the fast-paced, fine-tuned world of F1, Daniel Riccardo’s and Max Verstappen’s Red Bull cars both bear the brand name.
But like the Red Bull F1 team, it was off the pace last year. The high-calibre competition blew Hisense TVs out of the water. But with time, Hisense could begin to close the gap. Equally, it could fall by the wayside at the hand of the sheer size of its rivals’ reputations.
Hisense adds Freeview Play
Last month, Hisense joined Panasonic and LG in offering Freeview Play, the smart electronic programme guide, on a selection of its TVs. The simple Freeview Play system, which combines live and catch-up TV services into a single guide, is a welcome addition.
It’s an example of how Hisense must adapt to the UK market to win over customers. Brand name means a lot – Hisense will have to go above and beyond to coax people away from likes of Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic.
Only time will tell if it can truly compete. But this is one brand to keep an eye on.