Indian TV buyers are saying: bigger, brighter & louder is better. Canny makers like Samsung are listening -- and adjusting.
Bangalore, June 18 2018: Yes, there is a fortune at the bottom of the pyramid, to use C.K. Prahlad's memorable mantra. But there's gold at the other end of the price rainbow as well -- in a new ultra premium category, that upwardly mobile Indian buyers are embracing.
This was never more apparent than at the 2018 line-up of India's largest TV brand, Samsung. Some 15 models have been launched last week, covering a wide price gamut -- from Rs 27,500 for a 32-inch HD TV in a new, Made-for-India Concert series, to 10 times this amount for a 55-inch set with the proprietary QLED technology. And here's the interesting bit: Most of the new sets are in the high end. Clearly, there are now enough upwardly-mobile buyers in India for whom Rs 2 - 4 lakhs and change, is no big deal when it comes to a dedicated home theatre TV.
QLED, Samsung's display invention, based on millions of optical particles or Quantum Dots -- and its challenge to Organic LED or OLED -- is now 18 months old. For its 2018 QLED TV range in sizes from 55 to 75 inches, the company has introduced what it calls Ambient Mode -- for those who worry that for all the hours when it is not in use, a large wall-mounted TV is a rather ugly chunk of black. Using a mobile app, you can make the TV screen mimic and blend seamlessly with the wall behind the TV. Alternately you can programme it to display the weather or personalize the background with your own photos. This year, QLED TVs can also be controlled by S Voice. After voice assistants like Alexa and Siri, this was a development that Samsung could delay only at its peril. The 8 QLED TV models currently on offer, start at Rs 2,45,000 and include curved variants. The curved TVs cost a little more than the flat equivalents. Many TV makers have abandoned curved screens, but Samsung continues to offer them. The top of the QLED line, currently available is the 65 inch Model 65Q8CN priced at Rs 4,39,900. The 75 inch is not yet available
The other striking trend in Indian TV buyers' preferences is their embrace of 'smartness' -- merging TV and Internet in the same device -- and their readiness to pay for ultra high definition or UHD, also known as 4K. There's precious little live 4K TV to watch, yet buyers are going in for 4K/UHD TV, to future-proof themselves. Meanwhile the Internet connection ensures there is a lot of 4K streaming content -- serials and movies -- available.
If you think paying a premium for QLED doesn't make sense (and some experts will agree with you), there are 6 new models in Samsung's UHD range, more sensibly priced from Rs 65,000 up, for similar screen sizes. In 2018, it seems, big, bold and beautiful is the way to go!
See video of QLED TV 2018 in our
Tech Video spot on the home page
for a few days---------------------------------
Made in India, for Indians
Trendy, high tech TVs are fine -- but lakhs of Indians are just moving up from the old 20-inch CRT TVs and these canny buyers like value for money. Samsung has taken a year to design and make, 6 new TV sets in a "Concert" series for India.
Piyush Kunnapallil , Samsung India's General Manager for the Consumer Electronics Business, says research told them Indians like it loud -- so the new TVs have 4 speakers, not two ( at the four corners of the sceen) each belting out 10 watts.
They like to access TV content with free apps on their phones and then play it on the TV -- so the Concert TVs have built-in Bluetooth.
And Indians love to re-watch TV shows and movies, especially if they are free -- so Samsung has tied up with multiple providers like Jio, Netflix, Big Flix etc to bring some 60,000 titles to the Concert TV.
The TV comes in smart and non-smart versions, in 32, 43 and 49 -inch models, in the price band Rs 27000 -- Rs 59,000. Made for buyers who defiantly say: we are like that only!