LG raises stakes in local market with 84-inch set

The LG television worth Sh1,799,999 million on display at Sarit Center, Nairobi. Photo/Billy Mutai
The LG television worth Sh1,799,999 million on display at Sarit Center, Nairobi. Photo/Billy Mutai 

South Korea’s LG Electronics has taken competition for high-end television a notch higher by launching an 84-inch cinema 3D television retailing at Sh1.8 million.

The new product promises a tough test for Samsung, Sharp and Panasonic.

The ultra-definition TV set adds four inches to the largest high-definition screen sold in Kenya.

Apart from Kenya where LG says it has already sold four sets, the new TV has already been launched in Africa’s big markets of South Africa and Nigeria.

It comes as global television manufacturers seek to drive slowing sales by producing premium TVs with bigger screens and sharper images.

George Mudhune, LG East and Central Africa marketing manager, said the new model features not only a large screen but also higher resolution than existing high-definition models. He said this made viewers feel “the sense of reality and presence”.

“The bigger screen size enables viewers to get clearer images,” said Mr Mudhune.

Earlier this year, Samsung Electronics released a 75-inch full HD TV at Sh1.06 million while Japan’s Sharp unveiled an 80-inch model retailing at Sh1 million.

The Samsung 3D comes with all the latest TV technologies from Korea’s largest electronics firm. These include Smart Interaction, featuring voice, gesture and face-recognition control as well as the Smart Evolution hardware and software upgrade kit.

Sharp currently controls five per cent of this market segment currently dominated by Samsung, LG and Sony but intends to grow this to 20 per cent by 2014.

“This is an ambitious target but we believe economic growth is good enough to drive demand and quality,” said Rakesh Singh, general manager Polestar.  

Sharp has so far sold only one unit of its 80 inch model.

The television market has been fast evolving with the size and functionality of the devices becoming more advanced.

The new LED screens and Smart TVs have added to the experience of home entertainment as incomes in Kenya and other African growth markets rise.

With additional features like Internet connectivity, Wi-Fi, power saving and 3D experience, the television sets are popular with high end clients.

“Kenya is our gateway to East of Africa and we are very optimistic with our prospects here,” said Sharp general manager for Middle East FZE Tagami Yasuharu.

As the competition for high-definition television sets heats up, it is trickling down to the retailers who have enticing offers to lure clients. For instance, in addition to the warranties provided by the manufacturers, retailers like House Wife’s Paradise offer one-year insurance for the electronics.