Earlier today, a new $99 Google TV box was announced by Hisense, a company that sells flat screen TVs for cheap, mostly in stores like Walmart and Costco. Named the Hisense Pulse with Google TV, the company says the box will ship in November and will have support for 1080p, built-in WiFi, HDMI in and out, ethernet and a double sided remote control featuring a built-in touchpad and dedicated Netflix button on one side and a QWERTY keyboard on the other. The company says the box is small, with the dimensions being 4.5″ x 1.4″ in size.
If you ask me, this sounds like the exact same box that Vizio just released, the Co-Star, which I just reviewed. To date, it’s the only box in the market with HDMI pass-through and allows the overlay of live TV, but it sounds as if they won’t be the only device with this feature much longer, once the Hisense Pulse comes out. The question I have though is what the build quality will be like with the Hisense Pulse. Some people may compare Vizio to Hisnese and say they both make cheap TVs, but that’s not accurate.
Vizio is known for making good quality gear, affordable. Hisense is knowing for making ok quality TVs, cheap. Most have probably never heard of Hisense before and while their TVs are in some cases $100-$400 cheaper than a Vizio or Samsung, the picture quality is not as good as the major brands. When their 40″ 1080p LCD TV is selling for $299 at big box retailers, you know they had to skimp in the quality somewhere. Hisense’s TVs do get good reviews online, but most of the positive remarks are the price, with many saying things like, “not as good as my Samsung“, and “it is not the best out there in terms of picture quality.”
I’ve seen many Hisense’s TVs at the store before, but have never tested one at home, in my lab, so I’ll have to get one and see how it performs against my Vizio, LG, Sony, Samsung and Panasonic models. All this aside, the biggest hurdle Hisense will have with their $99 Google TV box is that most have never heard of the company, so they are going to have to spend a lot of money to market the device. But it does look like more Google TV boxes on the cheap are going to be coming to the market, which is great for consumers.