While smartphone sales decline around the world, India has emerged as an outlier. During the third quarter of this year, the country saw the highest number of smartphone shipments. However, the real exciting space has turned out to be the market for televisions. The market for smart TVs has exploded in an unprecedented way. In fact, every smartphone maker wants to now sell TVs with its branding. Then there are tech companies like Amazon and Google that want to be the platform of choice for these televisions.
According to IDC, Xiaomi is the leader in the smart TV market with a share of 33 percent at the end of the third quarter. As it faces fresh competition from smartphone makers like Vivo and Realme, the Chinese smartphone maker has found a niche for itself in the smart TV market. While one would expect Xiaomi to face competition from incumbent players like Sony, LG and Samsung, the real competition seems to be coming from other brands. This year, in particular, we have brands like Shinco, Thomson and TCL step up their game in a big way.
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Shinco is one brand that sees an opportunity to not only grow but deliver a unique experience to Indian customers. The second brand of Videotex International Pvt. Ltd., an ODM for leading Indian and International brands, offers a wide range of LED TVs with screen sizes ranging from 32-inches to 65-inches. The Smart TVs from the company run Uniwall, a custom interface based on Android 8.0. They are available from Amazon and Paytm. As we approach the end of this year, BGR India caught up with Arjun Bajaj, co-Founder of Shinco TV. Here is an excerpt from the interview, lightly edited for clarity.
Q. Shinco’s primary model of sales has been through Amazon India. Are you looking at expanding your products to Flipkart and offline retail channels?
Arjun: With the success we have experienced with Amazon, we are very happy and wish to stay partners with Amazon India exclusively for the time being. For the next financial year, it is too soon to comment as we are focusing more on sales through our own website and Amazon India. Our entire range of TVs is also available on Paytm Mall.
Q. Are you planning to launch Amazon Fire TV Edition devices in the country?
A: We are working closely on it with our partners but right now we can’t give any timeline for the launch of this device. “We just launched the Onida Fire TV Edition smart TVs and are excited with the customer response. We don’t comment on future plans or product roadmap,” an Amazon Spokesperson told BGR India.
Q. The smart TV market has exploded in a big way in the past year. Can you tell us how Shinco has done in this segment?
A: The best selling Shinco smart TVs during the sales were SO328AS 80cm (32) and S55QHDR10 140cm (55) TVs. The smart TV market has grown in 2019 and for Shinco, it was a good year. We sold more than 60 percent of the smart TVs we aimed to sell and Shinco TV was the top-selling brand in the budget category during the Amazon Great Indian Festival. This was a great achievement for us, as we are a relatively new brand in the market.
Q. Do you see TV makers not offering non-smart TV in the Indian market?
A: Non-smart TVs will stay in the market, consumers who own non-smart TVs can always upgrade their TVs to smart TVs with technology like Chromecast, Fire TV stick, etc, available in the market. However, in my opinion, only the smaller sizes – 24-inches and 32-inches – will continue in production in the market. I also think that share of non-smart TVs will drop drastically by the end of next year. Shinco will continue the production of both smart as well as non smart TVs.
Q. Can you tell us your views for the Q1 and Q2 of 2020? Do you see demand going higher for smart TVs?
A: Consumer needs and new technology will always ensure that consumers will upgrade their TVs. The demand went up for smart TVs in 2019 and it is predicted that 90 percent of the TVs sold will be smart TV by 2021. So the demand goes up, however, the current dominating size is 32-inch and slowly the demand for bigger sizes such as 55-inch will increase.
Q. Your Uniwall platform is still based on Android 7 in the case of some models. When do you plan to upgrade to Android 9 TV experience. Also, can you highlight India-specific features of Uniwall?
A: Shinco has a dedicated team focused on technology and development, our objective is to keep improving and giving consumers the best in class technology and services. We launched Uniwall UI in October of 2019 and by January 2020, we will launch new smart TVs with Android 9 in the bigger sizes.
The New Uniwall has a Cloud TV Certified AOSP with official apps like Hotstar, Zee5, Sony Liv, Voot, Sun NXT, Jio Cinema, Eros Now, Hungama Play, Alt Balaji, Movie Box, Bloomberg Quint, The Quint, HomeVeda and much more will give you access to 15,00,000+ hours of content and Live News channels access without any subscription. Installed also is one of its kind The Movies Box with free subscriptions and almost 7000+ collections of movies in different languages & genres. It also has CDE, i.e., Content Discovery Engine allowing you to search for anything by just entering the keyword on your TV. Uniwall UI will also give you all the OTA updates and you can get fresh content on a regular basis.
Q. You have focused on Quantum Luminit as a key feature. Can you explain the changes involved to achieve 95 percent NTSC and HDR10 support?
A: The Quantum Luminit display is fused with wide color gamut NTSC 95 percent that enhances the Reds, Greens and Blues, bringing the users more life of an impact on-screen than the resolution increase. The technology gives users the ultimate picture quality by combining stunning details with more lifelike & spectacular colors. For advanced NTSC levels and HDR10, there are a lot of changes required in both hardware as well as software that only companies with expertise, strong R&D and experience can achieve.
Q. Can you tell us about your Make in India journey so far?
A: Shinco’s fundamentals were very clear from the start, we wanted to be for the Indians and by the Indians. Shinco TVs are created from scratch in India, from manufacturing everything to assembly to the final product is created in the country. We will continue to invest in expanding our business in India. Currently, our plant is in Greater Noida and we aim to continue investing in the manufacturing industry and grow slowly but steadily.