OnePlus TV, the company’s first offering outside of smartphone and mobile accessory categories, will initially be available in India, followed by launches in international markets such as North America, Europe and China.
Experts tracking this space believe that the entry of smartphone brands into this segment will likely usher in a new sub-category of smart TV at highly attractive prices, resulting in stiff competition amongst the players. Xiaomi
entered the smart TV space in February 2018 with the launch of Mi LED Smart TV 4 at a price of Rs 39,999. Since then, it has come out with lower-priced models, with the cheapest — a 32-inch LED TV — selling for as little as Rs 12,999. In May this year, Xiaomi
said it had sold 2 million units of Mi TVs.
Micromax, which started selling smart TVs in 2016-17, recently announced its plans to launch a range of Android-powered smart televisions, starting at Rs 13,999. According to IDC, in the first quarter of 2019, Xiaomi had a 39 per cent market share in smart TVs in volume, followed by LG at 15 per cent and Sony at 14 per cent. The entry of phone-makers into the smart TV segment comes at a time when over-the-top (OTT) video platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, Zee5 and Amazon Prime Video are witnessing a strong growth in India.
According to a May report by Google, India’s online video audience is expected to touch 500 million by 2020, with an estimated 40 million Indians coming to the Internet every year.
With Reliance Jio’s launch of JioFiber home broadband, household video and content consumption is expected to rise even further. Jio, which has garnered over 300 million mobile subscribers in the three years since it went live, will offer its home broadband service for just Rs 700 a month.
Smart TVs have pre-installed OTT apps and other offerings which serve as a distribution channel for OTTs and earn revenues for the TV brands.
OnePlus, which partnered with Netflix to have the OTT app pre-installed in its new OnePlus 7 handset, is exploring similar partnerships for its TV offering, founder Lau added in the blog post.
The idea is to capture the screen-time of the average consumer, explains Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research. “TVs are now coming with computer-styled operating systems, which allow consumers to access a range of video apps, games and other services. And this is enhancing the stickiness of consumers towards smart televisions.”