Bangalore: Technology developed by a Bangalore-based media product company, Epigon Media Technologies, could see the launch of a small LCD (liquid crystal display) television set priced at about Rs19,000 in India soon. This will be over 20% cheaper than similar products selling in the country.
Epigon plans to discuss manufacture of these sets with electronic goods maker Videocon Industries and Mirc Electronics, maker of Onida television sets, says R.J. Venkatramanan, the media company’s chief of business and product development officer.
An LCD uses a liquid crystal solution sealed between two polarized plates. The crystals align themselves when exposed to an electric charge, and allow light to pass through them. Clarity on the LCD TV set is not only better, but the technology also helps make the sets slimmer than models that use picture tubes.
Currently, there are two graphics standards in LCD technologies: video graphics array, or VGA, and the better-quality super VGA or SVGA. However, LCD TV sets are yet to become common because of their steep price tags. A 32-inch LCD TV set costs around Rs50,000. Epigon’s SVGA LCD TV set would be much smaller—at 20 inches—but at Rs19,000, will be at least Rs4,000 cheaper than comparable models sold by Videocon.
Epigon hopes the lower price will help sell its product. “We are cutting down the cost in two ways: by reducing the size of the screen, which typically constitutes about 65% the manufacturing cost and by localizing the production of electronic and inverter circuits,” explains Venkatramanan.
The Indian market for LCD TV sets, though small, has been growing rapidly and will continue to do so, according to Silicon Image, a media chip company in Chennai. “In 2005, about 100,000 LCD televisions were sold in India and, in 2006, this number tripled to about 300,000 units,” Natteri Varadarajan, Silicon Image’s director of market development, said. He expects this to triple, or even quadruple, in 2007, taking the market size to around a million units.
Epigon expects to position its LCD TV set as a niche product in a market where demand is dominated by large screen sets.
“We are not too worried about the screen size, because we are catering to a separate market,” says Venkatramanan. While LCD TV sets of 32 inches or more would be ideal for the drawing room, he says the 20-inch model is more a “bedroom television”.
Epigon has also developed designs for radios that receives both satellite and terrestrial signals and wireless multimedia player that can play video and audio streams of data.