Seiki Wants to Stir Up Existing Markets

Tongfang Global is the Chinese company that owns the Seiki and Orion TV brands – the former being the most well-known. As Seiki, the company launched what was at the time the world’s cheapest UltraHD TV, in 2013 (Display Monitor Vol 20 No 16) – low cost alternatives to premium products are a speciality.

Tongfang does not use Android TV on its smart TVs; instead, the company has a proprietary platform. This is because Tongfang’s end users want simplicity. There are only about 100 apps on the Tongfang system, and the most important VoD apps, such as Netflix and the BBC iPlayer (in the UK) are pre-installed. In the near future, the smart TV platform will be expanded to new markets, as will the Orion TV brand – currently, Orion sets are mainly sold in Germany.

We also saw a 55″ UltraHD set with quantum dots – a prototype that will be shipped next year. It uses optical components from QD Vision.

About 10 mobile IT products were on show, including tablets and notebooks, but they were all prototypes; Sung Choi, Seiki’s VP of sales and marketing, said that it is likely that only two or three will be introduced. Three detachable tablets were on show, as well as various notebooks. Screen sizes were between 10.1″ and 14″, with resolutions from 1280 x 800 to 1920 x 1080.

At the end of the IT products’ area were two interesting models. The first was a 34″ curved monitor, with a 21:9 aspect ratio; various companies operate in this space, including BenQ, Acer and Samsung – but it is LG that dominates the market, said Choi. Tongfang/Seiki thinks that it can achieve a new low price point for this type of product (most likely by stripping out the ‘nice-to-have’ features, as it did for its sub-$2,000 UltraHD TV – TA).

In front of the concept monitor was a gaming notebook with UltraHD resolution – a genuinely premium product, although still very much a concept. The screen wasn’t working when we visited the stand! However, we heard that it will be a 15.6″ unit running on Intel’s Skylake platform (Core i7), with Nvidia Geforce graphics and 16GB of RAM. Content will be displayed at 60fps, which is necessary for gaming (it is much harder to strip out ‘extra’ features from a gaming product than it is from, say, a TV – gamers know what they need and will not commit their money to anything that doesn’t deliver – TA).

85″, 75″ and 70″ interactive whiteboards, with 10-point IR touch, are being developed and will be launched early next year. The largest models have UltraHD resolution and use IPS panels, with 450 cd/m² while the 70″ is 1920 x 1080, with a VA panel.

Finally, Seiki said that it plans to launch its 28″, 32″ and 40″ LCD monitors – currently on sale in the USA – in Europe soon.