Hisense Builds in Hillcrest

Hisense Company Limited, a major CE supplier based in China, has agreed to deploy Hillcrest’s patented Freespace in-air pointing and motion control software in its  next-gen smart TVs and Pulse-branded set-tops.

Hillcrest’s Freespace tech enables in-air point-and-click, gesture and motion control of CE devices through a handheld remote control, bringing PC, mouse-like navigation to TV user interfaces.

Hisense’s Freespace-enabled products will debut in the U.S., China and other markets later this year. Additional information, including product models and pricing, will be available at launch, the companies said.

Hisense, expected to be a key supplier of 4K/Ultra HD sets, is the fifth-largest smart TV brand based on shipment share, according to NPD DisplaySearch.

“With Freespace, Hisense will provide consumers with a more intuitive and efficient way to control their Smart TV products and easily navigate content and apps,” said Chad Lucien, Hillcrest’s SVP of sales and marketing,  in a statement. “Hisense is a proven market-leader in China, and we’re proud that they have selected Freespace as they expand their global footprint in the Smart TV market.”  

Hillcrest has forged similar deals with LG Electronics and TCL, the second- and third-largest manufacturers, respectively, of smart TV sets, also according to DisplaySearch. Samsung is the largest.

Other Hillcrest licensees include Logitech,  Roku, Sony Computer Entertainment and Universal Electronics, a firm that makes remote control devices for several major MSOs. In May, Hillcrest became the first vendor with motion control tech to license the Reference Design Kit (RDK), a pre-integrated bundle of software for IP-capable set-tops and gateways that is now managed by Comcast and  Time Warner Cable.