It’s hard to believe that in a country of shrinking spaces, a 55-inch television screen has almost become a bedroom staple. Brands such as Micromax, VU and Xiaomi had anticipated this trend a few years ago. They introduced a sub-Rs 60,000 category in large-screen TVs when the price of a 50-plus-inch LED was easily over a lakh. That price has almost halved again. Take this Kodak TV (pictured below), for instance. A 55-inch, Ultra High Definition 4K Smart LED TV with High Dynamic Range support for as little as Rs 32,999 did not exist till last year. But let me explain why the lure of size and specs is nearly not enough.
Let’s start with size. The dimensions claimed are more or less reliable. The bezels around the screen, however, define its screen-to-body ratio. Anything above, say, 90 per cent, means that the borders are thin and the set won’t look outdated. This TV passes with flying colours at 97 per cent. I would have liked to praise how the TV looks from the front if not for the jarring white Kodak logo at the bottom. The unimaginative stamping is highly distracting.
The overall thickness of the TV should be a consideration, too, if you are going to place it on a table top or if you would like the TV to stick to a wall like a frame. In that case, Kodak, or any other brand that sells TVs at this price point, is not for you.
Coming back to the TV hanging in my bedroom. Expect more design problems when you try to attach stuff to it after it has been fixed on a wall. Apart from the tough-to-reach USB and HDMI ports on the right, everything else is in the back panel, which you can’t access unless you take this mammoth TV down.
The TV makes a flicker noise when you turn it on. Much like the HBO introduction at the start of a Game of Thrones episode. It takes a few seconds to load up the Android interface and then presents a meaningless and confusing collage of windows suggesting videos from different apps, mostly YouTube, even before you have indicated your preferences or logged in to your accounts. Like my third-grade mathematics teacher used to say: “Assuming is making an ass of you and me.” To summarise the problems that this TV shares with most “smart” TVs in its price range, the interface is almost always confusing, the apps are unoptimised.
While logging in to accounts like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon is a pain with the on-screen keyboard (with or without an air mouse) in any TV, the least Kodak could have done was make sure searching and navigating is not such a pain while using these apps. You are forced to switch between using the on-screen mouse and the TV remote to just browse through the app. Even updating it does not help.
However, if you attach a Chromecast or an Amazon Fire TV Stick to the set and promise to stay away from its not-so-smart interface, you will love the TV. The colour reproduction is good and so are the viewing angles. The 4K content looks very life-like and HD sports channels appear vivid and immersive. The speakers, especially, work better than I expected in a large bedroom.
This big TV works like a charm if you attach a device, such as a Sony Playstation, a set-top box or a Chromecast and stick it to a wall. Stay away from the TV’s original interface unless absolutely necessary. The price you pay is for the screen and the screen alone.