Honor has announced a move into a new segment with the launch of Honor Vision, a smart 55-inch TV aiming to be smarter and much better connected than previous televisions. It will come in two versions, Honor Vision and Honor Vision Pro.
Richard Yu, CEO of consumer business group at Huawei, took to the stage to introduce the Honor Vision, saying that Honor was the home of "Sharp Tech" and that the conventional TV was no longer popular, only really appealing to those under 6 and over 60.
To step forward into the future and challenge the status quo, the company is introducing the Honor Vision, extracting everything that Huawei has learnt through smartphones and applying it to your TV.
Starting with the tech specs for the TV, Honor Vision will have a 4K UHD display, capable of 400 nit brightness with a 178-degree viewing angle and sporting a 87 per cent NTSC colour gamut. But Honor says that it's not just about the display panel itself, it's about the technology that's driving the display.
It features the new Honghu 818 chip, said to provide great graphics decoding for better picture quality, which will include upscaling, support eight picture modes, but also offer things like low blue light eye-protection modes as you might find on your phone. Honor suggested that if the TV detects a child is watching it can change the TV settings automatically to reduce eye strain.
The TV itself has a full metal bezel and a slim design, able to be wall-mounted or sit on a conventional stand just like any other TV, so in that sense, it's entirely conventional with a 6.8mm thickness.
But importantly, Honor Vision is the first product to run on HarmonyOS - said to be Huawei's alternative to Android - and as such will be highly connected, acting as a hub for a full range of other products, including smart home devices.
Honor describes the user interface itself as a "magazine style", designed to be a central hub to connect people. It will power on quickly, showing entertainment services first, but with a full range of other services supported. Many of those services will be familiar from Huawei and Honor devices, with things like Huawei Share, but also extending to weather, notifications about deliveries, and a whole lot more.
For the Chinese market you'll get access to a full range of TV services out of the box - but it's not clear if or when the TV will make it outside of China.
The Honor Vision Pro version will feature a pop-up camera, meaning that you'll be able to keep in touch with friends and family. The camera will give you a 1080p picture for video calls. Addressing privacy concerns, Honor said that the camera only functions when you ask it to pop-up and make that call.
To demonstrate the connectivity experience that HarmonyOS will offer, Honor used a DJI drone livestreaming to the Honor Vision TV. The idea is that, thanks to enhanced connection between devices, it would be easy to share your drone's view with someone on their TV - wherever in the world you happen to be.
Voice interaction comes thanks to a six-microphone array meaning you'll be able to talk to the TV to control not only that screen, but all the other devices around you, like your lights or to answer the door - as well as when making calls, of course.
Working seamlessly to share content from your phone is a huge part of this experience, with Honor saying that it's a one-click experience to get your phone on your TV through a service called Magic-Link. There will be an NFC tag so you can do this with a tap of the phone, having placed the NFC tag somewhere close by, perhaps on your coffee table.
That means you get complete remote control from your phone, as you swipe through your phone you'll be swiping through the TV UI and you can use it as a keyboard so you don't have to fiddle with silly on-screen input. For screen mirroring you'll get 1080p quality and it will support 60fps low-latency sharing, designed for gamers.
This isn't all entirely new - Samsung has been offering a range of connected functions that bridge TV and smartphone for many years.
Beyond local sharing, you'll also be able to share content to the TV from anywhere - so if you're out of the house you can use a family noticeboard, telling your kids to finish their homework, for example.
On the sound front, HuaweiHisten claims to be able to give you a 3D immersive sound stage from the TV's four 10W built-in speakers. It will also support Bluetooth 5.0 and HWA - high-res wireless audio - so you can connect headphones for personal listening, while also supporting lossless formats for audio.
There's certainly a lot packed in to the Honor Vision. While Honor isn't making any claims about wanting to be the best quality in terms of TV picture, it is looking to offer an experience that moves the TV on from a watching device to something that's central and interactive. It's also coming in at the affordable end of the market.
In China it will cost ¥3799 for the standard version (approx $540/£440) and the Honor Vision Pro will cost ¥4799 (about $680/£560). There's no word on whether it will be available outside China, but we'll update if we hear anything.