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Companies launch large screen TVs, is the market ready?

Samsung Electronics launched 75 inch smart TV priced at Rs 7.5 lakh on October 23

Sounak Mitra  |  New Delhi 

There have been three fresh launches in the large screen television category – ranging from 75 inch to 84 inch -- during the past two months. It might enhance the product portfolio of the consumer electronics giants, but Indian consumers might not immediately jump into the big-screen home entertainment category.

According to market sources, there has not been any real sale for the most recent launches in the large screen category so far. However, are hopeful.

Samsung Electronics, which launched 75 inch smart TV priced at Rs 7.5 lakh on October 23, said that it targets to sell about 1,000 units over the next 12 months. But it is yet to sell any.

LG, which has launched its much-hyped 84-inch 3D TV priced at Rs 17 lakh, said that the company has already received two bookings and 10 enquiries so far. The product was unveiled on November 1.

Japanese electronics giant Sony that has announced launch of its 84 inch TV in India on October 11, is yet to launch the product for retail sales. “The product would be available in market by end of November. Sony already that pre-booking for this product,” said Kenichiro Hibi, managing director, Sony India.

So, there has not been any real sale during the past two months.

While Sony, Samsung and LG is trying to tap the large screen market, Panasonic was the first company to enter the large-screen market in 2007 with a 85 inch TV, currently priced at Rs 20 lakh. However, the company has been able to sell just 125 units in India during the past five years.

Panasonic’s 103-inch TV, currently priced at Rs 28 lakh received a better response. The company has so far sold 275 units in India since the 103-inch TV was launched in December 2009.

But the fate for the world’s largest TV – Panasonic’s 152-inch TV that comes with a hefty price tag of Rs 3.5 crore, is yet to get any buyer. Panasonic launched the product in December 2010.

“This is not a mass market game. The large screen TV market is small but niche. We are not looking at a volume game,” said Manish Sharma, managing director (consumer product division), Panasonic India.

Such big screen TVs require certain viewing distance, without which the experience would not be enjoyable, said Sharma, pointing out that these may not be considered as a living room entertainment product. “Mostly, our 103 inch TV is being used in corporate board rooms, clubs, large lobbies, and personal theatres at home,” he added.

These days, people are establishing theatres at basements of their bungalows and houses. “These large screen TVs are actually bought by these people. Institutional sales are the large chunk of it,” Sharma said.

According to independent brand expert and author N Chandramouli, “All over the world 'bigger' is one way to show how you're better than the one next door. In India, it has become an unfortunate way that we show our social worth. In the TV segment, there is little visible and automatically evident differentiation to the 'home visitor' than size. TV brands are exploiting this factor to increase sales.”

LG Electronics India vice president (marketing) LK Gupta, however, says gradually people would put these large screen TVs at their living rooms. “This is not a volume game. We are targeting a niche consumer segment with these products. The response so far is really impressive,” he said, adding that LG is targeting about Rs 1,000 crore sales from the 3D TVs in India with sales of 2.5 lakh 3D TVs during 2012 targeting a 45% share in 3D TV market in India.

"We are seeing a healthy consumer interest in the 40" and above Flat Panel TV segment and expect this segment to be a major growth driver next year. This year we expect this segment to contribute 12-13% of the overall industry FPTV sales,” said Mahesh Krishnan, vice president, Samsung India.

Samsung currently sells 26 Models of flat panel TVs in the 40" and above screen segment.

Interestingly, California state legislators had, in 2009, mooted a draft regulation to ban such large screen TVs because of huge power consumption. They had proposed to ban sale of large screen TVs by 2011.

While developed countries are considering ban of such big screen TVs keeping in mind the environment issues, are targeting Indian as their best bet, atleast for now.

First Published: Sun, November 11 2012. 17:05 IST