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TCL takes a swing at Samsung with new Mini LED TV range; eyes 12% market share with 2022 product lineup | Exclusive

‘Our dream is to beat Sony.’

TCL
The brand has been manufacturing TVs in India since 2018.

TCL, on Tuesday, introduced its latest and greatest smart TV lineup for the Indian market. The Chinese electronics major has launched three set of products spanning different categories and targeted at different set of customers with prices ranging from Rs 35,999 for the entry-level TCL P735 to Rs 2,29,990 for the top-end TCL C835 that boasts of Mini LED technology.

Mini LED backlighting is a relatively new concept where much smaller LEDs – to the tune of 1/40th the size of conventional LEDs – are crammed into the TVs backlighting system allowing for a much more precise control over its dimming zones and black levels.

The idea is to cut down on what is referred to as the “blooming” effect which is the appearance of a halo around bright objects next to a dark background, which is often seen on typical LCD TVs. All this should –at least in theory—entail greater contrast and subsequently improved picture quality.

The only other brand doing this at scale, today, is Samsung with its Neo QLED TVs. So, in a way, TCL is taking a swing at the South Korean major, its main USP being, more affordable pricing. While Samsung’s 55-inch QN90A Neo QLED 4K TV costs Rs 1,50,990, a TCL C835 of the same size will be available for Rs 1,19,990.

Despite the lower price, the C835 packs some high-end specs including what’s being billed as “India’s first 144Hz variable refresh rate panel with Mini LED tech” which supports both IMAX Enhanced and Dolby Vision IQ standards. TCL has partnered with Japanese brand Onkyo for audio and, also, added support for Dolby Atmos playback.

With a more mass-market offering like the TCL P735 4K HDR (to be available in 43-, 50-, 55-, and 65-inch) and TCL C635 Gaming QLED 4K TV (43-, 50-, 55-, 65-, and 75-inch), TCL “wants to beat Sony.”

“We are a very tech-rich company in terms of what we offer,” Vijay Kumar Mikkilineni, Marketing Head, TCL India tells Financial Express exclusively, adding that “our vision is to give the same specs as Sony, at [more] affordable price.”

TCL is the only brand, after Sony, to use Google TV software which, as per Mikkilineni, puts it in a very competitive position. The TCL C835, TCL C635, and TCL P735, all, have it.

The brand has been manufacturing TVs in India since 2018. It has, recently, started production of mobile phone and television display panels at its Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh factory.

“The OEM business which was earlier dependent on overseas will now be fulfilled through our Indian manufacturing plant,” Mikkilineni says, adding “through this panel factory, we are launching panels from about 5-inch size to 65-inch.”

The 280,000-square-metre facility is TCL’s largest investment outside its home market at the time of writing. It has a capacity of about 8 million units per year. Samsung is one of its big clients.

TCL has close to 1,400 plus service centres across 30 states and is “working to make sure our network can cater to various other category of products [we are getting into] like washing machines and air conditioners.”

The channel coverage is “pretty strong,” Mikkilineni says. The brand relies heavily on brick-and-mortar stores for sales and distribution and is also available on Amazon and Flipkart.

“We are targeting around 12% market share by the end of this financial year,” he adds.

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