Connected TV battle heats up in India

26 April 2011

NEW DELHI: Major electronics brands like Samsung, LG and Panasonic are stepping up their efforts to boost demand for web-connected TVs in India.

Samsung, the Korean firm, recently rolled out a television set in the country which provides a variety of interactive features.

These include the ability to search and browse the internet, recommendations for series and films, alongside hundreds of apps covering areas such as sport and entertainment.

In all, Samsung predicts around 7% of its flat panel television sales, pegged to hit 1.5m units this year, are likely to be drawn from the latest addition to its portfolio.

Samsung is planning an "aggressive" marketing campaign on behalf of this innovative appliance, in a sector anticipated to witness rapid growth.

"The larger trend is towards personalisation of devices; features and applications that allow consumers to do more," said R Zutshi, Samsung India's deputy managing director.

"Thus, one is seeing the growing popularity of devices like tablets and smartphones that are re-defining the manner in which users create and consume content."

Zutshi added: "This year, I expect to see the smart TV concept catching up as consumers are exposed to new television technologies that allow them a more connected and immersive viewing experience."

LG has launched its own offering in this category, leveraging partnerships with a number of local media companies to source relevant material.

Among these allies are business channel NDTV, music platform Hungama, gaming site Zapak and news portal the India Times.

"Eventually content is going to be the key differentiating factor for the consumer," Soon Kwon, managing director of LG's Indian operations, said.

"Therefore, we have taken the lead in providing an excellent mix of global as well as India specific contents for our Smart TV buyers."

Sony, boasting a TV with internet capabilities in its Bravia range, similarly believes Indian customers' interest to rise dramatically as habits change.

"Convergence is a positive trend and we expect it to grow in near future creating a demand for products which are better equipped to meet the multiple needs of the consumer," said Tadato Kimura, Sony India's general manager, marketing.

Panasonic's Viera Connect has also been unveiled in India, embracing social networking, gaming and cloud computing.

"Panasonic has been the forerunner of new technology for several decades now," said Diazo Ito, president of Panasonic India.

"With ... Indian creativity getting applauded across the world, it becomes imperative for Panasonic to make available the latest movie-making and broadcast technology in India."

Data sourced from Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff