Chinese TV maker TCL has launched a “vertical TV” following Samsung Electronics’ “The Sero,” a model designed to allow young people to project more of their smartphone stuff onto the TV by allowing it to go vertical.
TCL has recently taken the wraps off the new smart TV product “XESS Smart Screen,” which can go vertical like Samsung’s Sero TV released in May.
XESS Smart Screen, like the Sero, is optimized for mobile content, but it is much cheaper than the Samsung product. The price of a 43-inch Sero TV is 189 million won, while that of a 55-inch XESS Smart Screen model is 4,999 yuan or about 850,000 won. A 43-inch model costs only 3,999 yuan (about 690,000 won). This model will go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.
This was not the first time that TCL released a TV similar to a Samsung product. “Frame TV” which TCL unveiled at the CES 2018 last year, imitated “The Frame” launched by Samsung Electronics in 2017. Like “The Frame,” it displays art works on the screen when it is not used as a TV. China's Xiaomi also released the "Mi Mural TV" with a similar concept at a price about one third that of "The Frame."
The problem is that Chinese TV makers can quickly dominate the market with low-cost copies of Korean products. According to market research firm IHS Markit, TCL ranked No. 1 in the North American market, which is regarded as a premium market, in the first quarter, with a 26.2 percent share in terms of sales volume. Xiaomi, a latecomer among Chinese companies, ranks fifth in the global market share standings thanks to its fast growth in emerging markets.
TCL threatens Samsung with its rich content. Indeed, despite consumers’ favorable response, Samsung's sales of the Sero TV remain sluggish. Along with its price, a lack of vertical content hampers its sales. TCL, on the other hand, said it would receive content for its vertical TV from Tencent and Suning Sports in China and strengthen cooperation with other online content companies.
China is also paying attention to the 8K TV content market. Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are focusing on 8K TVs. China also announced a plan to launch 8K broadcasts in line with the Beijing Winter Olympics, which will kick off in February 2022. It demonstrated live broadcasts of 8K content using 5G mobile communications in June. "If 5G is commercialized in Korea, diverse content such as 8K TV content, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will be created," a TV industry official said.