Huwaei is going for a full house in buzzword bingo with its entry into the TV market, with reports suggesting the company’s first set could boast an 8K resolution, 5G modem and be powered using advanced AI. The reports come from Japanese financial publication Nikkei, which claims that Huawei is looking to expand its business outside telecoms and launch new products in a variety of verticals; taking an approach similar to Samsung.

LG, Samsung and Sony have all announced 8K TVs that will all be available to purchase this year, but they require a Wi-Fi network or wired internet connection in order to get online. That’s where Huawei’s set will differ, as the company wants to leverage its expertise in the 5G space to offer wireless streaming of videos from the likes of Netflix and YouTube over a high-speed 5G network. Nikkei even claims that the speeds of 5G could allow the Huawei TV stream content that was otherwise unavailable on traditional TVs, such as 360° video.

While Huawei is relentless in advocating 5G technology, it’s unlikely that there will be a huge market for 5G 8K TVs in 2019. After all, not only is there a significant lack of 8K content available, as proven by the TVs launched by LG, Samsung and Sony – all of which leverage upscaling to offer an 8K resolution – but 5G is still a long way off from being ubiquitous.

In the UK, 5G is set to begin arriving in 2019. EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have all committed to an initial rollout of 5G this year, although only major cities are likely to be connected before 2020. Those living in areas such as London and Manchester may see the benefits of 5G first, but we’re not sure they’ll be clamouring to acquire a 5G TV soon after being hooked up to the network.

Expanding Its Offering

Huawei is most commonly associated as being a telecoms company, although it has branched out to other areas of the technology market in the last few years. The company’s laptops have been well received and it also offers a range of smartwatches, although in order to become a conglomerate such as Samsung it will have to vastly expand its product portfolio – and that’s not easy.

Samsung is the world’s largest manufacturer of TVs, and while its dominance has been challenged by numerous upstarts, the company has cemented its place at the top. In fact, its market share in established markets continues to show growth, and the firm’s expertise in audiovisual is hard to deny. Huawei has no such expertise.

Then there’s also the issue with the TV market itself. The market is notoriously low margin, and it’s unlikely that people would be willing to pay more for a TV based on the fact that it has a 5G modem inside; after all, people buy TVs for the picture and audio quality first and foremost. That means Huawei would need to price its TVs similarly to Samsung, or undercut the company and hope that it can still make a profit.

If Huawei presses forward with its 8K 5G TV, then we’ll likely hear more about it towards the end of this year.  

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