Televisions were some of the many electronic devices, besides music players, cameras, etc, to gace an existential crisis when smartphones swept the lives of consumers. Once a major source of content, televisions were reduced to an idiot box in the treal sense of the word, with smartphones allowing live streaming, untethered content of unlimited hours and the convenience of mobility. However, after a silent gap of several year, the television industry seems to be making a comeback again, and the new-age smarter products are no more just big boxes taking too much space.
The recently launched Thomson UD9-series 55-inch Smart LED TV is an entry-level TV with ultra-high-definition (UHD) resolution panel supporting high dynamic range (HDR) content. However, it is not the panel or the television outlook that makes it a new-generation unit; it is the TV’s user interface and preloaded content streaming services.
Before delving into the details, let’s take a look at the key specifications of the television:
The Thomson UD9-series 55-inch Smart LED TV is powered by a 1.2 GHz processor, mated with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage for apps. The processor is paired with ARM graphic processing unit (GPU) that handles content rendition on the mammoth 55-inch screen panel supporting HDR10 content. It also helps upscale the content from standard definition (SD) to high definition (HD). The TV boots a customised version of Google Android and supports several apps out of the box.
Moving from specifications, this Thomson television is neither slim nor bulky. It has a sturdy design with a front dominated by the screen with thin bezels around it, and the strong plastic back that also hosts the television’s connectivity ports. The screen quality is not class-leading, but its higher pixel density makes the content look sharp on it. The blacks are not deep, which hampers its contrast ratio. But for a daily watcher wanting to keep himself entertained, the screen is good enough. The television comes with a pair of legs allowing it to stand on the flat surface, and a wall kit to mount it.
It is not the design or the outlook, but the user interface, pre-loaded applications and the built-in directory of billion of hours of content from multiple sources that make this television stand in the smart TVs realm. Named My Wall, the user interface is easy to understand and operate. At the home screen, the television shows different connectivity options such as HDMI, AV, etc. It also shows content from different online sources (required internet connectivity) such as popular videos from YouTube, movies from Netflix and Hotstar, etc. The television can either be used to watch online content through various app-based content streaming services or digital-TV content with a supported set-top box. The interface does not show content from both at the same place, so there is the need to follow steps and move from set-top-box content to online content. Although the online content is scattered in different areas, making a search is easy with a dedicated search option available at the top bar of the television; you can access it easily using the remote controller.
Speaking of the remote controller, it is a basic unit that does not support voice commands. Though it has been optimised to work around the television’s user interface, the lack of new-age functionalities, such as a touch-sensitive joystick to manoeuvre, voice command support and point to highlight and select, diminishes its utility, hampering the overall utility of the television. Another downside are the built-in speakers. Their sound is somewhat muted and does not go well with the otherwise capable smart capabilities of the television.
Priced at Rs 39,999, the Thomson UD9 55-inch smart LED TV is an interesting offering in the smart television segment. It has a vast library of online content, which requires separate subscription, depending on the service you use to stream content. It comes with Netflix and Hotstar apps pre-installed, and supports installation of any other app to stream content from online sources. It also supports Miracast to share mobile content with the television screen. This is a capable television, marred only by sub-optimal speakers and a basic remote controller.