In advance of next week’s virtual CES 2021, China-based TV brand Konka, which made its North American debut last fall, announced a range of products for 2021 including an assortment of smart TVs based on a choice of Andriod TV or LG’s popular webOS smart TV platforms.

With the announcements, Konka is stepping up its push into North America behind a technology at a value message.

Konka made its re-launch in the U.S. last year as a “tier two bridge brand” offering quality technology and value, and has started to establish “long-term partnerships” with key retail partners, according to Scott Ramirez, Konka North America sales & marketing senior VP. Konka is focused on selling its products in stores with “assisted selling floors,” meaning stores with educated sales associates who can talk intelligently and accurately about Konka’s products and value message.

“Our goal is to steadily build the brand and to do it right. We want managed growth. It’s not about getting a quick shot, but about creating a brand and business in North America for the long term,” Ramirez said about the brand launch strategy.

In the Fall 2020 Konka introduced three LED-LCD TV series, the H3 Series Android TVs, the U5 Series 4K Android TV and the Q7 Pro Series 4K Ultra HD QLED Android TVs. All three were originally intended to hit the market last July, but the date was pushed out to September due to complications around the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of the late start, Ramirez said all sets sold quickly through the brand’s early established U.S. and Canadian authorized dealer base.

Starting this spring, Konka will expand the TV assortment with larger screen sizes and, starting with the H3 series. models running LG’s webOS smart TV platform.

Prior to this, LG’s webOS platform had been sold almost exclusively in LG smart TVs and some Band & Olufsen TV models. Konka is one of the first mass-oriented brands outside of LG to carry the platform here.

The company is also adding a new category of products this year with the introduction of a line of smart home devices that can be controlled through apps in it’s new smart television platforms.

Konka’s 2021 products will continue to present the “ZeroBezel” design that helped launch the brand here last year. This year, most models will feature border trim pieces on three-sides of the screen measuring just 2 to 3 mm wide. Every model this year will offer this design style, although thicknesses and the use of plastic or metal materials will vary between models and model series.

This year, all Konka 4K Ultra HD models will incorporate the company’s premium X3 processor. The 2021 models have also stepped up picture brightness, Ramirez said, and wider color gamut coverage, while 2021 4K QLED models will cover more than 100% of the DCI-P3 color space, up from between 90-95% of P3 in 2020.

The 2021 Konka TV series shipping this spring include:

All models this year will have HDMI 2.0b inputs, and will not support any of the HDMI 2.1 features like eARC, ALLM, VRR or other advanced gaming technologies at this time.

Most models will also have native 60Hz refresh rates, with backlight blinking as part of Konka’s AccuMotion motion smoothing technology.

The 2021 H3 series will ship in the April to May timeframe. All will consist of “small to mid-sizes,” including a 32-inch 720p HD model and a 43-inch 1080p Full HD TV model. Both will feature the Android TV smart TV OS, a voice control remote and ZeroBezel (plastic trim) design.

The step-up U5 TV Series will all feature 4K Ultra HD resolution and the following features: Konka X3 picture processor, Game Mode, AccuMotion, 4K HDR, Android 11 OS, direct-LED “High-Bright” LCD backlight, ColorWave wide color system, ZeroBezel design and in 75-inch and larger models, a ZeroBezel Pro metal-bezel design.

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The U5 series will be available in the 50-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch and a new 82-inch screen sizes. All will be available in the April-May timeframe.

The 2021 Q7 Pro 4K QLED TV series steps up with quantum dot wide color gamut support, meeting or exceeding 100% of the DCI-P3 wide color space and will incorporate the Android TV smart TV platform. All models will be available in the April-May timeframe and will step up to the ZeroBezel Pro metal bezel design. Screen sizes include: 55-, 65- and 75-inches.

Konka’s first TVs based on the webOS smart TV platform will begin with the H2 Series shipping in the third quarter of 2021. The Series lists in a 32-inch 720p HD LED LCD model that features LG’s ThinQ smart home system, Miracast and Konka’s ZeroBezel design. It will not include a voice-control remote.

Konka’s new U4 series will include the webOS platform, and 4K Ultra HD resolution. Key U4 Series features include a Quad Core Video Engine, 4K HDR Pro, 4K Game Mode, Personal Audio (with Bluetooth 5.0), built-in ThinQ and Alexa Voice Control Capability, an included Voice Control Remote, the Konka ZeroBezel design, Dual Band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and much more. The Konka U4 series will be available in the March-April timeframe in screen sizes of 43, 50, 58, 65 and 75 inches. Big screen models (50 inches and up) add HiBright LED backlighting and AccuMotion Enhanced Motion Rate.

Konka plans to announce other TV models in the second half of the year. Details will be announced closer to shipping dates.

As a tie in for its Android TV-based sets, all of Konka’s Android TV-based sets for 2021 will have access to a new app called “Camera View,” which is designed to help Konka TV owners control and monitor new Konka smart home products, like new lines of camera-based smart security devices, including Konka video doorbells. Owners of Konka TVs and Konka smart home cameras will be able to monitor a doorbell view, for example, with the image of a visitor at the door appearing immediately on the TV screen when the bell is rung.

Konka will sell a number of other home security cameras that can be placed around the house, and monitored from the central TV hub. Users will be able to speak with guests outside through a mic built into the TV’s remote.

Konka is also introducing an assortment of Smart Plugs, Smart Switches and Smart Lighting. All of the smart home items can be controlled by a KONKASmart OneApp, which leverages direct Wi-Fi connectivity without the need of an additional hub.

KONKASmart products will also feature key interoperability features such as works with Google Assistant, works with Alexa, and works with IFTTT, creating a worry-free user experience.

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By Greg Tarr

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