LeEco CEO JT Jia at the company’s press conference Wednesday.
China-based tech and content company LeEco let its unusual and highly comprehensive global marketing plan for North America out of the bag Wednesday, unveiling an assortment of high-performance and highly styled 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TVs it will leverage in its “disruptive” ecosystem strategy.
The synergistic plan will link hardware, Cloud-based internet delivery, content, diverse hardware products and price-aggressive online retailing.
Starting Nov. 2nd, two new series of LeEco-branded TVs will be sold over the company’s LeMall.com ecommerce portal, with a package including streaming content services and programming, some of which LeEco is producing itself through its LeVision unit. Revenue from the streaming services and advertising over the platform will help to subsidize the cost of the TV hardware, enabling aggressive price points for premium TVs.
Meanwhile, the Vizio TV operations, in which the company announced plans to acquire controlling interest, will continue to market its own value-directed TV products through traditional retail channels in North America.
The LeEco “ecotvs” are only one part of the company’s comprehensive assortment of global products and businesses, which each play into the ecosystem that links direct products and devices through the company’s LeCloud servers, platforms and user interfaces.
LeEco’s LeVision unit is producing popular movies for the Chinese market, and has recently expanded to produce movies for a global market including the upcoming release, “The Great Wall,” starring Matt Damon. LeEco boasts that its content ecosystem will be open, meaning that content it produces for its own streaming services will be open for distribution via other services as well.
At one point in the company’s flashy West Coast sendoff that was live-streamed on the www.leeco.com website, LeEco Chairman JT Jia said people have variously compared LeEco to Apple, Netflix, Samsung, Tesla and Disney all in one.
That’s because in addition to innovative TVs, LeEco is marketing a line of advanced smartphones, virtual reality headsets, set-top streaming boxes, headphones, electric bicycles, and even electric cars. It is also offering an over-the-top streaming platform and “Ecosystem User Interface (eui)” to help users easily navigate available programing from many content partners. LeEco also will have on its products a LeView section that ties premium content together using its aforementioned cloud service, employing advanced digital rights management supplied by Qualcomm to assure major participating studios like Lionsgate that their movies and television programs won’t be pirated.
Read more on LeEco’s formal North American sendoff and its forthcoming TVs after the jump:
For North America, LeEco unveiled its new flagship “ecotv”, the 85-inch uMAX 85, a 4K Ultra HD full-array LED LCD TV that will go on sale next month at a $4,999 retail price. The company will also offer a $1,000 instant rebate dropping the TV to $3,999, when purchased on the company’s www.lemall.com ecommerce portal.
LeEco used a minimalist design for the TV, with a thin-panel depth measuring just 13.5mm at the top and 2.3 inches thick at its widest point in the middle of the screen. The set will also employ a ultra-thin aluminum bezel and stand.
The uMAX 85 uses a 10-bit full-array LED back-lit LCD panel with a local dimming system addressing 448 zones. This is said to produce deeper black levels and brightness.
The set will also support both flavors of available HDR formats — HDR 10 and Dolby Vision — and will include a 120Hz native refresh rate and advance Fluid Motion 1920 motion smoothing system to “help eliminate motion blur and judder.”
The uMAX 85 will be powered by a quad-core ARM Cortex CPU and quad-core ARM Mali T820 GPU to support high resolution, minimal blurring and elimination of dropped frames.
Also on board is 4GBs of DDR3 RAM to enable the processors to deliver snappy multi-tasking functionality.
In addition, the set will include 64GB of internal Solid State storage for fast and reliable retrieval of apps and content.
Inputs will include: one USB 2.0, two USB 3.0 (top and rear), three HDMI 2.0 (with support for CEC, MHL and ARC), VGA, RCA and RF inputs, plus an optical audio output, mini headphone jack and Ethernet port.
On-board sound is supported by Harman Kardon speakers that are said to deliver superior sonic range and powerful bass mounted in an acoustically designed dual-passive enclosures. Also supported is Dolby Digital Plus decoding for fully optimized stereo imaging, definition, and accurate sound effects playback.
The LeEco smart TV is powered by the Android TV OS, and includes the Google Play store for access to a wide selection of apps and services. It will also work with the Google Cast system to stream even more content and apps from smartphones and tablets. To help simplify the programming search and retrieval process, the system also voice search functionality.
Users will have access to many of the most popular streaming apps including: Netflix, Pandora, Sling and others.
LeEco enhances the Android TV experience with its own Ecosystem User Interface (eui), which unifies the company’s product ecosystem while breaking device boundaries. The eui is said to “provide seamless inter-connectivity across all LeEco devices by removing the barriers between software, hardware, platform, content and apps. It is the answer to the fragmented user experience.”
As an example of the synergies between LeEco products, users will be able to cast content from a smartphone to a LeSee electric car with a finger swipe or receive alerts from a Smart Bike to the TV screen. LeEco calls the experience seamless and intuitive, while keeping content within a finger’s touch, regardless of the LeEco device used.
In the U.S., LeEco has partnered with top content providers to distribute programming through the eui and Le App content platform. These include: Lionsgate, MGM, Showtime, Vice Media, Awesomeness TV, A+E, with others being added weekly, the company said.
Starting Nov. 2nd, the uMAX 85 will be joined by the company’s line of Super4 ecotvs including the: 43-inch Super 4 X43 Pro ($449 after $200 LeRewards instant rebate); the 55-inch Super4 X55 ($699 after $200 rebate) and Super4 X65 ($1,199 after $200 rebate).
All Super4 models will include 4K Ultra HD resolution with HDR support, 60Hz native refresh rate edge-lit LED LCD panels with “Fluid Motion 120” motion smoothing technology, dynamic backlight sensors, quad-core ARM Cortex CPU and quad-core ARM Mali-T820 GPU, 3DDR RAM, 32GB (16GB on the X43 Pro) of solid state storage memory; and the Android TV OS with support for Google Cast, voice search and the LeEco eui. Inputs include 3 HDMI 2.0 ports (with support for CEC, MHL and ARC) in the 55- and 65-inch models (2 HDMI ports in the 43-inch), and most of the other ports found in the uMAX 85.
The 55- and 65-inch models each offer the same Harman Kardon speaker system as the uMAX 85, while the 43-inch swaps that out for Neodymium speaker drivers.
As a bonus, purchasers of LeEco’s “ecotvs,” will receive a one-year free EcoPass membership (3 months for the X43 Pro) that adds a 3-year warranty; 5TB of cloud storage on LeCloud, unlimited storage for photos and videos; unlimited movie viewing on Fandor; exclusive sale days on LeMall.com; priority customer service and discounted prices entertainment from many of the add-on content partners featured in the LeApps available to load on the displays.
By Greg Tarr
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