There are so many devices out there these days that just feel standard it's hard to really get excited about them. Some smartphones fit that description, and probably will until we start adopting some more exciting designs (again) at some point in the future. The iPad is another one. I know people who don't like Apple, who refuse to use iPhones, who still own an iPad -- because it's the tablet to own.
Those folks aren't wrong, either.
In my opinion, the other category is a set-top box. Gone are the days of owning a huge box from a cable company for so many people out there in the wild. Instead, there's a small box in its place, with an Apple logo or an Amazon logo right on top. These things are so common that I know folks who actually have two or more boxes attached to their TVs: a video game console that can also stream video content, and the set-top box from Apple or Amazon.
Plus, let's not forget that many of those owners are also attaching those devices, whether it's an Apple TV or not, to a smart TV. A unit that has its own built-in UI and streaming apps. These boxes are cheap and easy to use, so why not have one?
The smart TV is ubiquitous at this point, just like the set-top box is quickly becoming, if it hasn't already reached that point. A lot of companies have their sights set on not just dominating the smartphone market, but also getting a grip on the living room, too. And we can't ignore smart speakers, either, a market category that has exploded over the last couple of years.
OnePlus just announced that it plans on being one of those companies beginning next year. The OnePlus TV will be the company's first smart TV, but it will also be their attempt at building a hub for other smart products in the household. The OnePlus TV will be the device you can talk to to set your thermostat, check your schedule, and other things.
Basically, OnePlus wants to build a device that brings in the set-top box, the smart speaker, and the smart TV. Offer just one device, rather than having customers buy a variety of different ones. In theory that's a great idea, because hey it means we as customers can (probably) save some money. But of course it's ultimately going to come down to pricing and specs.
Will the OnePlus TV be a TV worth owning? That's what it will come down to for me. The other features could be outstanding and work flawlessly, but if it's not a fantastic TV set to watch content on, then it's a nonstarter. With OnePlus CEO Pete Lau leaning into the other features rather than the great viewing experience, I can't help but have my doubts.
That being said, I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised when OnePlus actually unveils its first TV next year. What about you? Do you think OnePlus can build a great smart TV? Or is this a move the company shouldn't be making? Let me know what you think!