Phone makers disrupt Indian TV market with compelling combo of content and smart screen
By Anand Parthasarathy
New Delhi, August 6 2016: Yes, Godzilla got it right. Size does matter. Indian TV buyers are telling us, bigger is better - and think nothing of exploiting seasonal discount sales to snap up the largest model they can afford on hire purchase. They can barely achieve the minimum safe viewing distance, in cramped flats, but who cares. Bada TV hai na!|
Interestingly, the biggest innovations in television impacting the Indian customer come from companies who are also smart phone makers. They have learnt what sells handsets -- not just specifications which are more or less identical from many makers, but the content: new user interfaces, access to customized content, pre loaded entertainment apps...
|They have learnt their lessons - and are scaling up their screens, from a 6-inch phone to a 60-inch TV set ( and often, both are Dolby DTS sound and full High Definition or even Ultra HD).
Last week two China-based players both with smart phone offerings in India entered the television arena here, with products which look set to disrupt the market with their aggressive pricing -- even before we begin to consider what they bring to the technology.
See accompanying story about TCL
Le Eco which in its earlier avatar, LeTV, was one of the biggest content providers for television in China, has smartly (pun intended), entered the TV market here with a trio of sets at the big -screen end of the smart TV spectrum, with a canny combo of carefully curated desi and international content thrown in -- live shows, movies, sports and music. By tying up with content biggies -- Hungama, Yupp TV , Eros and the like -- they are able with little effort of their own to offer a platter of 2000 HD movies, over 3 million songs and 100 satellite TV channels as a package deal with each TV model. If the first generation of television was all about one-side broadcasting and the second was a platform for offer multiple channels, Generation 3.0 is a big screen that is Internet -connected to an entire ecosystem of global infotainment options. The Connected Smart TV is here. You can control the screen by voice or gesture. You can change channels by waving the remote --or using your mobile phone instead. And you can store your favourite programming in your own 5 terabyte cloud , and share clips or music much s you now do with Whatsapp. What I saw in Delhi three days ago at the LeEco showcase was a seamless merger of TV, mobile and Internet where every viewer in a family can create his or own personalised version of TV content -- and control what do do with it.
Specwise, LeEco has chosen to address the top end of the TV market: their three launches in India are: the top of the line 65-inch 3D UHD TV, the Super3 Max 65; the 65 inch ultra HD Super 3 X65 and the 55inch UHD Super 3 X55.. all three are so called '4k' displays, all are WiFi enabled and Android 5.0 driven. I was tickled to see TVs rated like PCs: " 3GB RAM, 16 GB Flash storage".. this is PC-TV sangam in action . The Max 65 is priced at Rs 1,49,790 which is about half what competing 65 inch 3D sets cost. The X 65 costs Rs 99, 790 and theX55 is Rs 55, 790, all aggressively priced in their categories. Their common USP is the access to all that content which is valued at around Rs 5000/ year and comes free for two years.
Content Raj has come to Indian TVs.