Hisense's 2021 TVs in North America to support WiSA wireless audio

Mike Wheatley

Chinese TV company Hisense has said it’s joining the likes of LG Electronics and TCL by adding support for the Wireless Speaker and Audio Association’s wireless audio format on its 2021 TVs in North America.


Hisense said this week that its 2021 TVs in that region will all be certified as “WiSA Ready”, which means users will be able to add a WiSA USB transmitter to their screens and enable them to transmit wireless audio to compatible speakers.

WiSA is an industry organisation that has developed a specification for hardware and software that enables the wireless delivery of 24-bit, 48kHz/96kHz digital audio with support for up to 8 channels, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

The standard was first announced way back during the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show show, but it has taken some time to build up an ecosystem. Although it counts a fair number of audio equipment manufacturers, including the likes of Harman Kardon, Sound United (Denon, Marantz and Polk), Eastech, JBL, Klipsh, axiim, Pioneer, Almando, Primare, GoldenEar, and Electrocompaniet as supporters, it has had less success in getting adopted by major TV brands. To date, LG Electronics, TCL and Bang & Olufsen are the only major TV manufacturers to announce support for the format.

Still, the organization has been working hard to promote its WiSA wireless format. In 2020 it announced plans to add support for Dolby Atmos. It also launched a small transmitter box that year, which enables consumers to use WiSA with TVs that do not provide native support for the format.

Interestingly, Hisense announced earlier this month that its 2021 TVs will also adopt a rival wireless audio format called DTS: Play-Fi that’s supported by Philips and Loewe TVs too. So today’s announcement means that Hisense is the first major TV company in the world to throw its weight behind both formats. Meanwhile, the likes of Samsung and Sony are yet to support either format, though their TVs do support Apple’s AirPlay spec that enables wireless audio if you have some Apple devices lying around.

"Hisense is proud to be pushing the performance envelopes of video and audio with the launch of our 2021 North America TV models," said David Gold, President of Hisense America, in a statement. "WiSA continues to lead the emerging wireless audio category and we are proud to achieve WiSA Ready Certification and deliver solutions that will provide amazing, convenient, and immersive entertainment experiences for millions of consumers."

Compared to Europe, where it remains a relatively minor player, Hisense has a much bigger profile in the U.S. The company claims to be the fifth leading TV brand in the states as well as the fastest-growing brand there in terms of unit sales. The company is best known for its high-end TriChroma Laser and Sonic Screen Laser TVs, though it also sells a range of ULED LCD TVs that fuse a 2K panel with a 4K panel to achieve superior contrast ratios that the company insists is just as good as any OLED TV.

In addition, despite apparently ditching OLED in January 2020, the company recently announced a new 48-inch X8F OLED TV model that’s said to be exclusively for the Japanese market in 2021.