Compared to just 15 years ago, when every household had just one TV set, the trend of having a TV in almost every room is growing rapidly in India. Of course, with TVs having lost a lot of weight, it has become much easier to fit them into almost any size room or even hang them like wall art!
In 2015, there were 153 million TV households in India. According to a Broadcast Audience Research Council (Barc) study, a 19% increase was recorded in 2016, which took the total number of TV households to 183 million. This number is expected to grow to 191.7 million by 2021, according to data published by Statista.
Even after the proliferation of smartphones and 4G, TV enjoys an unparalleled reach and viewership. The television industry experienced steady growth of 8.5% in 2016 to reach a market size of ₹588.4 billion, with 11% growth in advertising revenues and 7% growth in subscription revenues, according to the FICCI – KPMG Media and Entertainment report 2017. The TV industry is further projected to grow at a CAGR of 14.7% to reach ₹1166 billion by 2021.
The problem arises, however, when you need to buy one for your home. With the countless choices and varied technical specs to go through, a novice might feel quite clueless. So, before you start researching on the available choices, here’s a brief guide to help you.
Which Type of TV to Choose : LCD, LED, OLED, Plasma
If you are looking for a TV for your drawing room interiors, I would advise you to go for a high-end LED TV. But if you can afford a 4K TV, go for it, because everything else will be outdated soon (until 5K shows up).
Don’t get confused by the acronyms. I will break down the jargons for you. At present, there are actually only two types of TV display technology, one is LCD, with the other being OLED.
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) needs a backlight system to light up the screen and create an image, since they do not produce their own light. This screen is used in standard TVs, computers, digital cameras, tablets and cell phones. Earlier, compact fluorescent bulbs were used for the purpose of illumination but now LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are used instead. An LED TV is a alternate name for LCD TVs and do not represent different technology. LED TVs consist of an LCD screen that uses an LED backlight to make the colours visible.
If you are looking for a TV that adds to the sophistication of your drawing room interiors, I would advise you to go for a high-end LED TV. However, don’t expect very high-end performance. To learn more about the best 32-inch LED TVs in India, read here.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a TV for your bedroom, consider a mid-sized LCD TV, which will also be cheaper.
Image Source – LG
OLED TVs represent newer display technology. Short for Organic Light Emitting Diode, OLED TVs emit light when a current is passed through it. The vibrancy of the colours on an OLED screen is unmatched. It offers you an immersive viewing experience for your movie nights, with the most realistic images.
Resolution: HD or 4K (Ultra HD)
The sharpness of the picture, usually described as the horizontal lines of pixel, is known as resolution. You could opt for a full HD TV that supports the 1080p format, meaning 1080 lines of resolution, for clear images and vibrant colours.
However, with TV manufacturers rapidly adopting Ultra HD, also known as 4K, I would recommend that you skip the Full HD option. Models with 4K resolution have four times the number of pixels as HDTV screens (2,160 horizontal lines or 3840X2160 pixels). No wonder, 4K is becoming a popular choice for many households. It offers a much richer, more detailed and life-like images with sharper text.
DirectTV, Dish Network and even the popular streaming services like Amazon Video, Netflix and YouTube are gradually increasing their 4K content. However, what you should also know is that the quality of content is only slightly compromised when seen on an Ultra HD TV set. Nonetheless, choosing 4K makes more sense since it is becoming the new standard.
Here are the options for the best 4K OLED TVs in India, great for those who enjoy frequent movie nights with their family or friends.
If you love vibrant colours, opt for a 4K Ultra HD TV with HDR (High Dynamic Range), which increases the difference between the dark and light colours.
Then there are curved screen TV, available in both OLED and 4K variants, which offer even more immersive experiences. The slightly curved screen, however, distorts the image and minimises the available side viewing angles. As a result, only the people sitting right in front of the screen get the best view.
Smart TV: The Ultimate Choice (For now)
Needless to say, in India, bigger is always better. And, with the increasing disposable income in the middle and upper middle income groups, families are aspiring for status symbols even in their television sets. This is why, smart TVs, also known as connected or hybrid TVs, have been gaining ground, quickly becoming a mainstream product from an aspirational one.
An internet connection is a major feature that separates a smart and not-so-smart TV. Smart TVs are emerging as a popular choice especially amongst Indian households with teenagers and young adults, who like to stream television shows and movies, while also subscribing to services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO. They also want a TV on which they can play immersive games. Little wonder then that Smart TVs are also evolving, with some newer models offering voice control and smart home integration.
Do look for adequate connectivity ports like USB ports, HDMI, audio jack and other AV ports, along with Bluetooth options while making a purchase.
What you should keep in mind is that even the most expensive TV can have a poor sound. This happens due to the lack of space on a flat-screen TV to accommodate big speakers that produce loud and rich sound. To overcome this, you can get a sound bar, surround sound system or even use headphones.
Here’s an interesting piece of info about smart TV viewing in India. Smart TVs are not just used for cable TV viewing, but these…. (Source – Business Insider)
What to look for when buying Smart TVs
- You have native apps of all your favorite streaming services.
- There are no country restrictions.
- You have access to an open app store (like Google Play).
- There are enough input ports (like HDMI).
- There are enough sound output options (stereo, optical fiber etc).
Should you get a sound bar with smart TV?
I would highly recommend it. Smart TVs are extremely thin and most of them compromises on the sound, getting away with speakers which needs some space to produce high quality sound.
When getting a smart TV, make sure that it has enough output ports for sound. Either co-axial cable stereo sound or even better, optical fiber output. Many high end home theater systems like Bose comes with optical fiber input and offers superior quality sound.
Online Vs Offline Purchases – Which is better?
The most popular TV brands are now all available online as well, with television manufacturers increasingly moving their marketing efforts to the online space even to boost offline sales. TV brands have adopted unilateral pricing policies (UPP) so that every TV set is available at the same price at every authorised dealer. So, whether you choose Amazon or Flipkart to buy a TV, if one is offering a discount, all of them will offer the same discount.
Buying online actually gives you access to an infinite selection of the most popular models from the biggest brands. Even if a model is not in stock at a particular time, you can ask the site to notify you when the model becomes available. However, there can be some exceptions in store specific models.
Tip: I’ve noticed that some brands run exclusive offers on certain portals. For example, TCL (which is a popular brand outside India) offer exclusive offers on Amazon and has pretty good deals. The only catch is that TCL not being a ad-savvy brand may not be recognized by your friend. But reality is that they are made by the asme company that makes parts of some of the other leading brands. (Source – Wikipedia)
Amazon even has a TV finder application that lets you figure out what is the right TV for you, if you answer these questions.
What TV Size should you choose?
Going online can help you buy a television set at a much lower cost, given that the savings on infrastructure is passed on to the customer by online retailers. However, this does not mean that if you can buy a 55-inch TV for the price of a 40-inch one, you should go ahead and buy it. The size of your TV should be based on the size of the room in which it will be viewed.
A 32-inch LED TV comes with a recommended minimum viewing distance of 4 feet, whereas for screen sizes between 40 and 45 inches, the recommended viewing distance is 7 feet, while for a 55-65 inch LED TV, you will need a minimum viewing distance of 9 feet.
So, unless your room can accommodate that distance, you will end up only straining your eyes and suffering headaches.
Should you opt for extended warranties?
You might be offered an extended warranty at the time of purchase. The aim of extended warranty is to provide financial protection in case your new TV malfunctions. It is a major source of revenue for electronics stores, since such warranties are rarely used, especially if someone has bought a flat panel LCD or LED HDTV, whose components are not easily damaged, even if they suffer a jolt.
So, you can trust the regular store return policy, which is valid for the first 30 days of ownership, and the one-year warranty offered by most manufacturers.
Don’t forget to check if your credit card company is offering a price protection policy to help you save money.
And one last suggestion, make sure you do your research well, including checking customer reviews, before making a buying decision.
10 Best Smart TVs in India in 2018
Here are the best smart TVs in India today.
1. Sony Bravia 4K
Size: 55 inches
Features: 3D, 4K, 40W sound, 4 HDMI, 3 USB, Apps
Sony’s 4K UHD (Resolution: 3840 x 2160) is one hell of a TV. What I really like about this TV is that it has all the features balanced. Amazing looks, superb clarity (with its X-Reality Pro feature), top connectivity options, superb sound options and an overall neat package. Oh! And good price too. This is the kind of smart TV you’d want to flaunt in your living room. Slick, loaded and impressive. It has several connectivity options with four input options, all HDMI and 3 USB ports. So, if you have your Amazon Prime or Chromecast streaming devices, it call all go on the TV. Even hook up your computer with it and it should be just fine. This TV also has a powerful 40W output with a 4×4 sound system, which is really impressive.
2. Panasonic Vierra 4K
Size: 55 inches
Features: 4K, 20W sound, Apps
I have a personal inclination to Panasonic TVs. The Vierra 65 inch I used in US, was a super solid TV. Used it for more than 3 years and there was not even a scratch of issue with it, except that I broke the remote. This TV is Full HD (Resolution: 1920 x 1080) with an audio output of 20 W (a little lesser than the Sony mentioned above). But in reality, you won’t even notice the difference between 20W and 40W. Also, there is no 3D feature on this TV like the Sony. But hey, how many of us really are passionate about watching 3D TV at home? I gave it a try and it made me dizzy! Meh. This Panasonic TV comes with a 1 year warranty provided by the manufacturer from date of purchase.
3. LG 55 inches 4K LED Smart TV (Titan)
Size: 55 inches
Features: 4K, 20W sound, 4 HDMI, 2 USB, Apps
Televisions aren’t LGs forte but they seem to have pulled off a good one in this segment. The 55 inch 4K resolution LED TV from LG is loaded and comes at a comparatively competitive price. When compared to the Sony Bravia or Panasonic Vierra, it may not catch up on all features, but it’s good enough. For example, it only has a 20W sound system as compared to 40W on the Sony Bravia. But that doesn’t mean the clarity of picture is any lesser. The LG, offers amazingly clear and crisp image, though there seems to be a lack of depth in black colors (which is very strong in Sony).
This TV is available on offer on Amazon currently, so if you’ve been waiting for a price cut, this is the time to grab it.
4. TCL 55 inches 4K LED Smart TV
Size: 55 inches
Features: 4K, 2 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, Screen Mirroring, Apps
Most of us wouldn’t have heard about TCL. But apparently, it’s one of the leading producer of TV screens in the world. I’m not sure how true this is, but I’ve heard that TCL produces the screen for many other TV brands. And they come at cheaper prices because, they are able to discount the marginal cost incurred for advertisements and the like.
This PSUS model television from TCL is a pretty good deal if you’re looking for a 55 inch LED Television within budget. It has a very thin frame and is only 9.9mm thick. So, it will sit nicely in your living area, without taking any space. It comes with all kind of connectivity including 2 HDMI ports, 2 USBs and external sound. It has a screen mirroring feature too where by you can cast content from your laptop to the TV (Miracast).
5. Sanyo 55 inches 4K LED TV
Size: 55 inches
Features: 4K, 3 HDMI ports, 2 USB ports, 20W Sound, Apps
Sanyo has one of its best TV line up in the 4K segment and the XT is one of the best. With 55 inches screen and a sleek look, this TV is an easy fit and eye candy for your living room. It has native apps, 20W powerful sound, 3 HDMI ports (compared to 2 on the TCL) and 2 USB ports as well. The display and brightness is amazing. There seems to be a slight noticeable lag while using the apps, but you won’t notice is after using it the second time.
6. Haier 55 inches 4K LED TV
Size: 55 inches
Features: 4K, 4 HDMI ports, 20W Sound, Apps
Haier has an amazing offer for a large screen LED TV. It’s their LE55B9500U product that comes with an impressive 4K resolution display, powerful 20W sound and a host of apps. Apps are not the most slickest but works fine. Haier’s support network is questionable though.
This TV is probably the cheapest 55 inch LED TV available today. If you can squeeze in some more money, you could get a better reputed brand’s TV, and personally, I’ll go for it.
7. Samsung 55 inches 4K LED Smart TV (Dark Titan)
Size: 55 inches
Features: 4K, 3 HDMI ports, 2 USB, 20W Dolby Digital Sound, Apps
Samsung’s “Dark Titan” is a beautiful TV. The display is vivid and smooth, with deep black and bright colors. The sound is amazing with Dolby Digital support and base reflex.
Being Samsung, this TV is a little bit more pricier than others in this league, but that also comes with the credibility and warranty of Samsung. It’s not as thin as the TCL TV, and comes with a bit of weight but that doesn’t make it sleek or fit for your living room.
8. JVC 55 inches 4K LED Smart TV
Size: 55 inches
Features: 4K, 2 HDMI ports, 2 USB, 1 VGA, 20W Dolby Digital Sound
I have a special thing about JVC. It’s one of those brands I used to see in my “foreign return” friends place always. They’re probably not as popular in India because of lack of advertisements but their products are just as good.
This TV is a classic LED TV. Comes with 2 USB and HDMI ports and even one VGA port! It has incredible sound pumping at 20W and the display is lucid and amazingly soothing to the eyes.
9. Mi 55 inches 4K LED Smart TV
Size: 55 inches
Features: 4K, 3 HDMI ports, 2 USB, 20W Sound
The Mi Smart TV was launched in 2018 and is one of the best in league, unquestionably. The build quality is amazing, and the TV is super thin. It comes loaded with apps, and there is no sluggishness in the way it works.
Display is amazing and all colors are well represented with deep black background as well. This TV is competitively priced well below the biggies in this league and kind of poses a threat to other companies. However, availability of this product is still a problem and many fans are still waiting.
10. Vu 55 inch 4K LED Smart TV
Size: 55 inches
Features: 4K, 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB, 20W Dolby Digital Sound
Vu TV claims that they’re a California based company and brands their product accordingly. Although it might be technically correct, they operate from India and is essentially an Indian company. They produce cheaper products compared to other brands, both in quality and price.
This 55 inch smart TV from Vu is one of their best in the league and boasts of amazing display with 3 HDMI and 2 USB ports. It has inbuilt apps but its not up to what Sony or Mi has in its array. Apps aren’t sluggish but feel cheap. Their support network also is not very reputed. But the product is very cheap and is appealing to a budget conscious buyer. I think the question here is, whether it is worth taking the risk.
So, there you have it. Some of the best smart TVs available in India, around the 55 inch league and under 1 lakh Rupees.
Final verdict: Which TV should you buy
It really depends on what you’re looking for. If you are budget conscious, look for Mi or Vu brands, which have very competitive prices for decent products. They may not have the charm and after sales support like a Sony or Samsung, but they are good.
If you are looking for a rock-solid, high end premium TV, go for Sony, Samsung, LG or Panasonic. These are brands that have amazing products, that don’t compromise on quality and have good after sales support. However, you might have to pay a premium for getting that brand in your living room.
It’s really up to you. All the best! If you have any questions, please let me know in comments.