Smartphone maker OnePlus is preparing to release a smart TV. Surprised? You’re not the only one. The Chinese firm, which is behind the likes of the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro, announced the project almost a year ago, but recently confirmed its name: OnePlus TV (there were fan-submitted alternatives on the table, but they weren’t great).
What exactly the OnePlus TV will be and do is still a bit of a puzzle, but here’s everything we know about it so far.
OnePlus TV release date
The OnePlus TV will launch in September, but it will initially only be available to consumers based in India. We’re still waiting on an official release date.
However, tech tipster @Samsung_News_ has claimed that the OnePlus TV will launch in India on September 26. India is one of OnePlus’ key markets, and in the past the company has offered India-based consumers exclusive access to Avengers- and Star Wars-themed variants of the OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 6.
OnePlus says its TV will come to North America, Europe and China “as soon as we establish partnerships with most of local and regional content providers”. According to @Samsung_News_, the OnePlus TV will launch in both the US and European markets on October 10, before going on sale on October 15.
These dates are, of course, not official − so don’t take them as gospel.
“We want to be sure of every step we take, which is why we wanted to focus on one market at a time,” OnePlus wrote in a blog post.
OnePlus TV price
OnePlus’ success has been built on so-called “flagship-killer” smartphones, which offer high-end specs and features at a significantly lower price than similar smartphones from rival manufacturers. And the OnePlus TV, apparently, will be cut from the same cloth.
“It will also be a flagship killer, like we do with smartphones, at a very competitive pricing,” Lau said last December. “We see that currently, as one goes down the price points, the picture, sound and build qualities deteriorate. We want to create a seamless Internet experience that creates a true Smart TV, going beyond what is traditional in this space.”
Frustratingly, there’s very little context to go along with these comments. As of yet, we don’t really know what sort of models the OnePlus TV will be designed to compete with.
OnePlus TV sizes and features
OnePlus’ VP for France, Akis Evangelidis, tweeted the image embedded above − and it reveals some key details. First and foremost, there will be a 55-inch version of the OnePlus TV. Secondly, that particular model will feature a QLED display.
OLED TVs are lauded because of the incredible contrast they offer, but there are great things about QLED technology too. QLED TVs, for instance, tend to be far brighter than OLED TVs, which in turn means that they can make HDR pictures look more lifelike − especially during bright scenes. QLED displays are also immune to screen burn, and they’re cheaper and easier to produce than OLED screens.
Related: OLED vs QLED
The Cello C55SFS4K is a 55-inch QLED TV that was originally priced at £800, and earned an excellent 4 out of 5 stars in our review. Could we expect similar performance from the 55-inch OnePlus TV?
In August, a submission to the Bluetooth SIG was spotted, revealing a range of sets that, judging by the model numbers, will arrive in a wide range of sizes. The listing suggested that the OnePlus TV will be available in 43-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch sizes. It was also right about the sets being based on LED TV technology, rather than LCD or OLED.
However, the description for the sets lists each of them as a “Unique Android TV”. That raises another question. Will the sets run the actual Android TV operating system? Or will it be a version of OnePlus’ Oxygen OS used on the firm’s popular smartphones?
There’ll be no middle ground here because Google doesn’t allow manufacturers to make any changes to the Android TV operating system. Unfortunately there’s not that much more information contained within the submission.
In an August blog post, Pete Lau wrote that the OnePlus TV will “offer our users Android TV updates for at least 3 years”, and that Android TV is the platform of choice because it “can interact and seamlessly connect with your Android phone”.
The company has also promised a “remarkable design”.
“To me, designing a TV is about more than creating a high-quality display. A TV takes up a prominent spot in a household, meaning its design has to be worth viewing even when the TV is turned off,” Pete Lau wrote in August.
Now brace yourself for a deluge of buzzwords.
“It’ll solve problems for you,” OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei told Trusted Reviews in February. “We’ve seen that people who use smartwatches tend to feel more comfortable with leaving their phone behind when they’re out and about for lunch or on a run, because they can still be in touch with the [digital] world through their smartwatch.
“We think that the future is a multi-screen future. People are no longer tied to a phone itself, but rather the services they use. For instance, Netflix for watching something, or Uber for getting somewhere. It’s only a screen that follows their needs wherever they are, and delivers their needs in the fewest steps possible.
“In the future, we won’t be as tied to a single form factor.”
Pei added: “Maybe in the future you won’t need to open an app to access a certain service or achieve a certain goal. Maybe it’ll all be integrated into the system.”
In a blog post, the company has written: “For most of us, there are four major environments we experience each day: the home, the workplace, the commute, and being on-the-move. The home − perhaps the most important environment experience − is just starting to enjoy the benefits of intelligent connectivity. Something that seems as simple as displaying the photos from your mobile phone to a television is still difficult to achieve.
“With the development of AI technology, our imagination is endless – and we are looking forward to the future.”