On Friday, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau took to the company's community forums to announce the OnePlus TV (via GSMArena.com). It wasn't immediately clear what kind of product this would be, and there wasn't much in the way of details about it. Aside from the name, Lau talked a lot about how OnePlus plans to take the home environment to "the next level of connectivity", saying that TVs can be used for much more than watching movies and shows.
This was somewhat vague, but Lau has now shared some more information in an interview with PCMag. The focus of the OnePlus TV - which will apparently be an actual television set with a 4K display rather than a set-top box - is more on smart connectivity than media consumption alone, acting as a hub for all the connected devices in the home. The idea is that you can talk to your TV to ask questions or control the temperature in your house, for example.
The TV could also be used to help users get ready for the day, presenting data from their smartphone's agenda on the big screen, along with other information such as weather forecasts and clothing recommendations based on that. Lau also briefly mentioned the idea of using the TV to display photos from your phone, but it's unclear if that's part of the planned feature set.
OnePlus seems to acknowledge that it would be difficult building this sort of ecosystem from scratch on its own, so it's partnering with a 'mainstream' provider for the software side of things, though it hasn't revealed who that will be. Despite running on third-party software, the company also vows to keep the software up-to-date so customers don't feel abandoned after a while, which would likely be a welcome change of pace.
While the focus of the device will be smart connectivity, Lau says that image quality is still a big priority, so it's using Sony's displays as the benchmark for image quality. The company will buy displays from third-party manufacturers, but chipsets and algorithms for image processing will be developed in-house. Lau defended the decision to build an actual TV rather than a set-top box with the fact that switching between inputs on a TV can be cumbersome for many customers, and the aim is to create a seamless experience that does everything.
The interview didn't clarify any solid details, including a timeframe for the launch of the OnePlus TV aside from a rather vague "next year". Nevertheless, it presents an interesting approach to the smart TV market that could blow a breath of fresh air into it. The company has made quite an impact with its line of smartphones since 2013, and it will be interesting to see if it can deliver something similar here.