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November 26, 2007

How to buy TV (consumer goods) in India?

In this series, today, we will see buying a TV in India. India is very very different in the consumer market. You will find it cheaper on store, than in web, which will be reverse in many countries. Still LCD & Plasma TVs are a luxury items for a common man in India.

Where CRT TV prices are reducing drastically day by day, like wise Flat panels too.

When we tell TV, immediately you will get recommendations from your relatives and friends as SONY. There are other players, who can perform better than SONY for the same price. We will see how to choose between them and what are the key parameters to be looked up on in buying a TV.

1.) First of all, you should decide up on what will be your source material - either it will be your cable TV or DTH like tata sky / Dish TV / DD DTH. This is very important because, these DTH platforms call in for a SET-TOP Box modules, which will make the TV Tuners useless / redundant one. There you can save some money. I have seen sales men promoting a brand saying that it has 200 Channels. If you choose DTH, all these 200 channels are waste - which certainly needs some electronics & engineering involved at some cost.

2.) Look for lots of input options like AV 1/2/3/4 etc, S Video, composite, component & the new entrant a HDMI, so that you can hook up your DVD, Game consoles, DTH, Music player, PMP, Digital Camera, etc. If you choose DTH, its recommended you choose a TV with Stereo speakers (Most of the New sets will have one)

3.) Picture is only 40% of your viewing experience. The remaining 60% is from the Audio. So look for some pretty descent sound out put. Caution: Don’t get cheated away by the PMPO ratting. Always look for RMS WATTS for audio. There is a cheap alternate for you. If you don’t want to invest too much on TV, which makes good sound, you can look at Creative’s 2.1 speakers. The bass, which usually will be missing on Indian TV sets, the add on 2.1 will really rock you.

4.) In cable TV, most of the region will get a very weak signal. So look for TV, which can boost the signal. Go to a big chain shops & you do a comparison by yourself of watching a weak signal channel simultaneously in all the similar sized TVs of different brands.

The hot selling TV Size is 21 diagonal inches to 29 ". Many MNC Giants in this market use India as a Dump -yard for their obsolete products. Say for example, Panasonic officially announced that they are stopping CRT TV Production & Support. You will not find Panasonic CRT TVs anywhere else in the world except in India & other such countries. So, look for service, support & availability in your area.

These companies have invested huge money on their production plants & they got their "ROI" Return on Investments. To do the Research and development they have to spend a lot. They have kept so much money in making the plasma plants. If they continue CRT sets, then very few will buy Plasma, which will result in huge loss for them.

Coming to the technology, we want the robust, reliable, trouble free machines. Unfortunately, all the current consumer products are designed with a life of 3 years in mind. After that its expected you dispose them off and go for an upgrade - saying that you will not get service for those old items. The CRT is time-tested technology, where as plasma, LCD, OLED, e-Ink, SED, are relatively new and yet to prove itself.

The human brain has very unique feature, it remembers very rich and vivid colors. That is the reason, many consumer grade digital cameras enhance the colors like green and blue, which is NOT the real replica of the seen you are trying to capture. The same is very true for TV technology too. CRT will provide you a TRUE Color of the image, where as the LCD, plasma, OLED will give an over cast of the colors.

In the show room, they want to sell the TV, which has higher margin for them. So they will set a high contrast and rich colors, which will immediately attract your attention, assuming that Rich Color means better quality – which is just an illusion to the human brain. Also note that you are watching it in a professionally designed show room, which may have treated acoustics & Special lighting. Once you take that TV and put it in your room, it may look & sounds like a crap.

Hundai – relatively new entrant in the mark just to prove them selves about their reliability, they put their TV in Secunderabad railway station, which runs 24 X 7, with full bright and contrast on. Its been there for more than 2 years, where other major brands can’t survive in harsh environment with train vibration and pollutions.

From the chain store, you will have the option to play around yourself. Then decide upon the Brand and model. Make a note of their prices. Call just dial (+91-40-2444-4444) and look for the dealers who can supply the brand you have chosen in your area. Usually you will get at least 5 to 10 numbers. Call one by one and find out the best price they can offer. Then choose the lowest one of your choice.

BigBazar is NOT a choice to buy the consumer electronics, as they get 2nd quality items or items with minor defects at low cost. It may not have visual artifacts, but certainly the quality will be less.

After all its your hard earned money. Think thrice before you put your money on them.

Disclaimer: We don’t get any money for recommending any brands. It’s my 15 years of experience in buying the consumer goods in the market, which I would like to share it with the readers.

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