At Rs 27 lakh, has Samsung's UHD TV missed the bus?

Nandagopal Rajan        Last Updated: July 5, 2013  | 10:24 IST

Samsung has finally entered the 4K - or Ultra High Definition (UHD) as the Korean tech giant calls it - race in India, with its UHD TV 85S9. This 85-inch television has a unique "Timeless Gallery design" which makes the screen seem like it is floating within a frame. It also has the 'One Connect' solution that lets you connect the TV with a single cable, eliminating the tangle of wires that generally accompanies large-screen televisions. It also has a Rs 27,00,000 price tag.

Nandagopal Rajan
Nandagopal Rajan
The price would have not been much of a surprise a few months ago, when the cheapest 4K televisions cost Rs 12 lakh in India. But now, when Sony has announced 55- and 65-inch 4K screens for under Rs 4 lakh, Samsung's price seems rather high. Of course, there will be those who buy these Rolls Royce-like televisions, but their number will be much smaller now that there is a cheaper option. This despite a difference of some 20-odd inches in screen sizes.

Incidentally, Sony India recently told Business Today that it had sold about 200 units of its 85-inch 4K television, which costs around Rs 17 lakh apiece.

There is no doubt that Samsung's 8559 is a stunning model. We got a glimpse of it at the Samsung Forum in Hyderabad earlier this year. Like Sony, Samsung is also loading an upscaling engine that can make HD or Full-HD content look like UHD. This is crucial because of the lack of 4K content across the globe at the moment. Things will change as more movies will be shot in the 4K format this year. But beaming them to these ultra high resolution screens is still a pain point.

The television will also feature Samsung's trademark smart features, such as the Smart Evolution Kit for easily swapping the processor and software for future upgrades as well as 120-watt array speakers built into the frame. But all these features are to be expected, considering the price tag.

In a way, Sony's innovation has made sure that Samsung and others, including LG and Toshiba, will have to think of smaller screen sizes and price tags if they want to promote 4K. As of now, it seems Samsung has been a bit too late for this race.

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