Skyworth Kicks Off Global Brand Expansion At CES
China-based TV manufacturer Skyworth TV used a CES 2020 press conference Sunday night to usher in the global market expansion of its brand and products into North America and other regions, behind a set of premium TV series including “wallpaper-thin” 4K OLED TVs and a 75-inch 8K full-array LED-LCD TVs.
The company made clear that it intends to offer high-level televisions and other devices that will connect to them, all featuring high design styling to match the quality of the built-in sound and video performance.
As previously reported here, the major Chinese TV brand that is well known in its domestic market for innovative premium televisions, is taking the brand to the United States and other markets this year. It has previously dabbled in some markets outside China with early models sold through select retail accounts in the U.S. and Canada.
Among the product highlights of the official launch rollout in North America later this year is the Q91 8K LED-LCD TV series and the W81 and W81 Pro series “wallpaper-thin” 4K OLED TVs. The latter models are very similar in concept to that year’s LG “W Series” ultra-thin 4K OLED televisions, offering a two-piece solution of electronics and screen connected via a thin, discrete cable. (LG’s 2020 ultra-thin Gallery Series TVs will omit the separate soundbar/connector box).
The similarity to LG’s models is, perhaps, to be expected, since Skyworth was one of LG Display’s earliest partners in WRGB OLED panel production and procurement. LG Display in association with partners including Skyworth recently started ramping up a new OLED basic module factory in China. This is expected to increase the availability of OLED panels, which ultimately should lead to less-expensive options for the big-screen technology.
Skyworth also revealed its plans to offer products with built-in whole home smart networking capabilities tied to its proprietary “Swaiot” AI-based internet of things communications control platform that will be a central part of its future product roadmap.
Tony Wang, Skyworth TV chief executive and president, said, “As a leading brand in the TV and smart home industry, Skeyworth is moving ahead with a focus on building a premium brand, continuous innovation in technology and products, and ushering in the era of big-screen AIoT. Skyworth aims to become the brand that leads the consumer electronics market of the future, offering 8K TVs and flagship-level OLED TVs, among other differentiated products, that meet the demands of the growing middle class.”
The Skyworth Q91 8K TV will include one 75-inch model that will be based on an 8K IPS-type LED-LCD panel. The TV will see a $5,999 suggested retail price when it hits the market here later in the year. The television will be positioned as a premium high technology performer and is expected to compete with top offerings from established U.S. TV market share leaders like Sony, LG and Samsung.
The company said that as its “first 8K TV available in the U.S. and other markets, the Q91 allows viewers to see realistic image quality combined with intelligent performance.”
The Skyworth 75Q91 will feature 8K resolution and a powerful SoC that supports 8K hardware decoding with up to 60 fps smooth motion images. Skyworth said the Q91’s IPS technology arranges the liquid crystal molecules horizontally, to present wider viewing angles and faster response time than other LCD panel technologies.
The television also employs an 8K AI Image Processing Engine that uses advanced image recognition and processing technology to improve the contrast, color and clarity of the picture. It will intelligently upscale lower-resolution video content to near native-8K resolution quality, the company said.
The Q91 features a “bezel-less” design with unrestricted viewing of the image and a wide viewing angle of up to 178 degrees, the company said. The television will include on-board support for Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) and Dolby Atmos surround sound from the sets 2.1.2-channel sound system. Skyworth also includes a HiFi passive filter and Skyworth’s Wonder Audio Sky Echo built into the model’s included sound bar. This is said to “move soundwaves upwards to echo precisely into the user’s ears.”
Skyworth W8, W8 Pro 4K OLED Wallpaper-Thin TVs
Skyworth said it will also bring to North America a pair of “wallpaper-thin” 4K OLED TV series in the W81 and W81 Pro. The W81 will include one 65-inch model ($3,599 suggested retail price) while the W81 Pro series will include a 65- ($3,599) and a 77-inch (pricing to be announced later) model.
The televisions feature very thin screens measuring just 4.6mm at its slimmest point and can be attached to a wall via a magnetic fixture and hidden wall mount. Among the TV’s feature set is an on-board 12-megapixel camera for video calls and other functions.
Skyworth is the first Chinese manufacturer [through a partnership with LG] to have access to OLED basic modules (OBM) that they use to build in its own approaches for picture processing and presentation. Skyworth calls the W81 and W81 Pro models “its first self-manufactured OBM OLED TV series.”
Both OLED series will be part of what Skyworth calls its “wonder” series, a term referencing the televisions’ sleek, nearly bezel-less, ultra-thin panel designs. The sets are similar in concept to LG’s previous “W” series 4K OLED televisions that some had dubbed wallpaper TVs when they were first introduced.
Skyworth said the design of the W81 and W81 Pro models was inspired by the “thin and light qualities of paper.” The design incorporates a signature one-line design on the TVs’ lower frames for a “minimalistic yet practical feel,” the company said.
Along with the built-in pop-up camera, Skyworth is embedding a microphone array in the one-line-design bezel. This will allow built-in AI intelligent voice control gathering, and support for video calling. The design employs a combination of glass and metallic materials that give the appearance of “cleanliness and strength,” the company said.
The W81 Pro series adds a 21-inch secondary display equipped with Skyworth’s proprietary Swaiot networking platform for smart home control functionality. This pops up from the main processing power bar that is connected to the display screen. The power bar carries HDMI and other inputs along with key electronic components for the television and on-board sound system. Skyworth said the W81 Pro TVs’ secondary screen is designed to work with the main screen to show always-on information such as time and weather. They will also provide responses from connected internet of things (IoT) devices indicating real-time updates.
Th company said the W81 series can also be paired with the “Swaiot panel,” which is an optional four-inch or 10.1-inch supplementary display. This platform is designed to automatically sync with the program being played on the main TV. Skyworth will sell the Swaiot panel separately for the new “wonder series” TVs, and it can also be used with other Skyworth TVs in the near future.
By Greg Tarr
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