LeTV set-top box C1S

This week, video service LeTV announced to release its latest set-top box C1S, partnering with Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn. The first patch will be sold through Sina Weibo in April.

Late last year, LeTV confirmed investments from Innovation Works and aimed to build a TV-based video ecosystem which would allegedly disrupt consumers’ Internet lifestyle, namely a model of “Platform + Content + Device + Apps”. Earlier this month, LeTV joined hands with Foxconn in making the SuperTV and Internet TV boxes. According to Liu Hong, COO of Letv, the two sides have signed an exclusive contract in which Foxconn will no longer provide similar ODM services to any other companies.

The latest C1S box adopts the freemium model, customers can get a box for free but have to pay RMB 290 to enjoy premium content for  six months. The premium include different versions of 1080P, 3D, Dolby and some exclusive sports games as well. After the first 6 months, users have to pay an annual fee for the premium content.

Currently LeTV is surrounded by competitors from major traditional TV makers like TCL, Changhong, KONKA, Skyworth, Hisense and Lenovo, who already had a smart TV. In the future, probably more faces would appear. Liu said in an interview that the main pressure comes from some licensed integrated broadcast platforms like bestTV and some video sites peers like itself. VP of LeTV Liang Jun pointed that users will be able to get LeTV products online or in brick-and-mortar flagship stores, and will out-source the after-sales service as well as logistics.

The wish of disrupting the whole TV industry sounds interesting, but as we reported earlier that 60% of Chinese users do not really know how smart their smart TV are, whether this attempt will work still remains to be seen.