It looks like China’s TCL is once again following close on South Korea’s heel, this time in the vertical TV business.
On Aug. 16, TCL held an event marking the launch of its first vertical TV, the XESS in China’s Guangdong Province. Citing data from Penguin Think Tank, the TCL chief executive said that more than 80% of consumers are desiring for a new way to view images and videos.
He also noted that while the vertical screen is actually nothing new, considering that it’s used in all smartphones, there was always the limit in size.
As if conscious of such shortcoming, the XESS has a 55-inch screen, with a screen ratio of 95.9%. It will come in two types, the standard that has a price-tag of 3,999 yuan (690,000 won) and flat screen types costing 4,999 yuan (860,0000 won).
The move from TCL comes four months after Samsung unveiled its first vertical television, the Sero TV. Han Jong-hee, the head of Samsung Electronics’ VD division had said at the time that the new TV reflects the new life styles and content consumption trends of the millennials, who are used to vertical screen configurations.
The Sero TV is 43 inches wide and costs 1.89 million won, meaning that the TCL product is less than half the price, while the screen is 12 inches bigger.
TCL had been stuck in a similar tug of war with Samsung last year as well, that time with so-called frame TVs.
Back in 2017, Samsung launched the FRAME X, a TV that was created to be used as an artistic device for framing images of art on the screen when it’s not being watched. A year later in 2018, TCL showcased a similar type of television at the CES in Las Vegas.
The two TV makers will also clash in the 8K TV market, according to market watchers. In May, TCL became the first Chinese company to unveil an 8K TV. The 75-inch television costs 49,999 yuan, or around 8.6 million won.
The same type of TV from Samsung Electronics is more expensive at 10.5 million won.
According to market research firm IHS Markit, TCL was No.1 in the North American television market in terms of sales in the first quarter of this year with a market share of 26.2%. Samsung ranked second with 21.8%. But for the first half of the year, the South Korean tech giant snatched back first place. NPD, another research firm, confirmed this, saying that the list goes from Samsung to TCL to LG Electronics. TCL’s market share stood at 15.5%.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.