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Evolution of televisions from CRT to LED and QLED and the growth of the sector in India

Television (TV) has been the main source of entertainment for families. The French premium brand RCA was the first to introduce TVs to the world in 1959.

With the launch of televisions being a groundbreaking event on its own, 20 years later, in 1979 Doordarshan revolutionized to becoming a colored channel which was again a path breaking event. Another event that made it to the list was the television of the Asian Games, in color. These added to the luxury and premium factor to the televisions of those times.

TVs were not affordable for all. At the time, we’d see one TV per neighbourhood where people would get together to watch the weekend movie, live cricket matches, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The availability of such content also led to the growth of the CRT TV market in India. While content is a huge factor driving the market, technology is another. In the 70s or 80s and even up to the 2000s, technology played a secondary role for the sector. The main technology that the CRT TVs used were the cathode rays. In the 80s, we saw the launch of the 14-inch and 21-inch television.

The flat-screen era replaced the curved screen in the 90s and added to the premium factor. There were various types in the same category, such as true flat and ultra slim. The biggest size in this category even went up to 29 inches. However, as the market was still evolving, 70 per cent of the market share was captured by the 14-inch TVs.

As mentioned above, technology was not a factor which the TV consumer of the time made choices to buy one. Given that the TV in India was only launched in 1979, the 80s and 90s was a very good era for it but as there was no groundbreaking evolution in the gadget per say, the replacement period went upto 6-10 years. This stagnated the market for obvious reasons. We had big TV manufacturers and sellers who penetrated 40% of the total Indian TV market but without a routine tech upgrade, that is where it stayed at and after a period of time an obvious downfall started. It was in the latter part of the 2000s that the degrowth was evident.

It was around that time when Liquid Crystal Display televisions (LCD TVs) were launched in the market. The players also brought 32-inch TVs, 40 inch-TVs and 49-inch TVs to the sector. People wanted bigger screens at home, and that is when the industry started to look promising again. Television sets had better display, an overall sleeker look and so on. The plasma TV was the Mercedes Benz of the industry. The size also went up to 98 inches.

With liberalisation of the Indian economy in 1991, we saw an influx of major international TV brands from Japan and Korea that made their debut in the country. They had newer technologies and deeper pockets with which they acquired up to 80 per cent of the market share while only 20 per cent remained with Indian manufacturers.

Meanwhile, the smartphone industry was showing newer trends of increasing adoption and adaptability of technology at affordable prices. India has been and will remain a price and value-based market. Some TV manufacturers in India introduced TVs with luxury specifications, viewing and sound capabilities at competitive prices.

The biggest disruption since then has been the SMART TV. This technology allowed people to experience mobile applications on large screens and view the content of their choice on OTT platforms. With the introduction of LED TVs, the industry saw a 15-20 per cent growth after a decade. The sector registered an 85 per cent growth with the launch of SMART TVs.

The present scenario for televisions and especially for home-grown, tech-focused affordable TV brands is promising. The millennials are investing in alternate TV brands that give the same features in terms of specifications, sound, viewing, etc. within a budget. While content streaming and OTT platforms will continue to push the industry forward, technology remains a major factor for the consumer electronics industry overall. With more innovation, the sector is only set to scale. The Financial Express

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