Televisions are expensive – that’s something we’ve gotten used to believing. While brands such as Vu, Micromax and even Panasonic to some extent have attempted to make big, feature-filled TVs affordable, they’ve enjoyed varying levels of success at it. Additionally, TVs are still a product that is predominantly bought at a dealership; you want to look at it, feel it and watch it before you decide to buy it.
However, none of these upstart and second-tier brands have succeeded in cracking into Samsung, Sony and LG’s market. While brands such as Vu have succeeded in enticing buyers with its competitive prices, there still exists a trust deficit when it comes to the brand. After all, you buy a TV for four-to-five years at the very least, and a big question exists as to whether some of these TVs will survive the period. As a result, there exists a definite gap between the affordable and premium TV markets; they don’t quite get in each other’s way.
Everyone from Samsung to Vu is in the crosshairs
But with Xiaomi getting into the TV space, things are about to change. Samsung and Sony should beware, because Xiaomi isn’t just an average manufacturer of affordable TVs. What Xiaomi is offering is much more. It’s promising the same level of quality in software, hardware, design and picture quality as Sony and Samsung, but at a price that is less than what you’d pay for even a Vu TV. The argument about quality vs affordability is more blurred than ever before, thanks to Xiaomi’s aggressive approach to the market.
While the first shot fired was of course the excellent Xiaomi Mi TV 4, it’s interesting to note that Xiaomi decided to test the waters with what is one of its most premium products in the TV segment. For a brand that has built its reputation on affordability, I was surprised to see Xiaomi bring its flagship TV. But Xiaomi went a step further by pricing its most premium TV at the same price that Sony or Samsung would charge for entry-level options.
The company has gone even further today, with the launch of the Mi TV 4A in two size variants. Priced at Rs 22,999 for the 43-inch full-HD variant and 13,999 for the 32-inch HD variant, Xiaomi now has a TV option in every reasonable size category and budget. From small to medium to large, from HD to full-HD to 4K, and from incredibly affordable to still pretty affordable, Xiaomi’s Mi TV range in India is the one to be beaten.
The math is simple
The reason why Samsung, Sony and every other manufacturer that sells TVs in India should be worried is simple: whether you ask someone in the tech reporting industry such as me, or a regular person looking to buy a new TV, the math is straightforward. These TVs are priced competitively enough to take on the established affordable champions, and capable enough to make the premium high-quality options look ridiculously overpriced. Xiaomi isn’t just undercutting the competition by a few thousand rupees; we’re talking significant price differences.
Xiaomi’s quality is proven as well. The company hasn’t gotten to the top in the Indian smartphone market for nothing – its phones are loved, praised and happily used by millions. The company would never risk its reputation for quality, and has ensured it has brought its best TVs to India. We reviewed the Mi TV 4, and we’ve been floored. Whether it’s the awesome PatchWall UI, extensive connectivity, high-quality panel or the smart and easy-to-use remote, the Mi TV 4 doesn’t do a thing wrong.
With practically the same specifications and capabilities as the larger Mi TV 4, the two variant of the Mi TV 4A are promising offerings for the price, with the only differences being in the screen resolutions, sizes, and the lack of HDR compatibility (the last one isn’t a deal-breaker at all, in case you were wondering). With this launch, Xiaomi has clearly signaled that it isn’t going to sit content with its leadership over the smartphone space – it’s going for TVs next. And everyone from Vu to Samsung and Sony should be very worried about that.