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Thomson TV in India Review 2018

By on July 26, 2018 with 0 Comments  

Thomson is a renowned French brand making a comeback in India after three decades. And the good news is that it is offering latest of TV technologies at a dirt-cheap price. Though launched this year, it has received good reception with its TV models being sold within a few minutes at the time of launch. Thomson is an online-only TV brand and that too exclusively available on Flipkart for now. Company dwells on its French origins and literally markets it as French product (there’s a French tricolor imprinted on the packaging). Thomson is a subsidiary of Technicolor SA and it offers only LED TV in India between the size 24’ to 48’.

Key Thomson TV Technologies and Features

4K Resolution with A+ Grade Panel

Resolution is one of a most defining parameter of LED TVs these days and 4K resolution is the most desirable resolution. It might sound a little overstatement, but prominent TV innovations would not have been possible if it wasn’t for high definition technology. High-end models like UD9 from Thomson comes with 4K resolution. In fact, Thomson offers the cheapest 4K TVs (excluding the obscure Chinese manufacturers). Do keep in mind that the content available on 4K in India is currently limited to a few sports channels and National Geographic. So, unless you watch a lot of 4K movies, you will not get a lot of 4K content in India. The brightness level of Thomson TV is on a lower side with peak brightness being 550 nits. But the good thing is Thomson TV uses A+ Grade Samsung Panel which is one of best in its class. A+ stands for achromatic which means ‘no color’. While manufacturing the TV, base panel is made of a transparent material. It improves color transparency. Upon testing no issues were found with the contrast, but the detailing was missing. This becomes evident upon watching a movie with darker scenes.

HDR10 to Improve Contrast

One prominent factor that has helped the push of 4K TVs is the advent of HDR. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it significantly expands the range of two important factors—contrast ratio and color accuracy. Thus, the bright parts of the image get much brighter, so it seems image possesses more depth. The color range expands to show brighter blues, greens, reds and everything in between. Thus HDR-compatible movies push TVs to their limit, with brighter highlights, perfect blacks, and wider color gamut. Combining this with the mesmerizingly powerful 4K resolution, movies look nothing less than stunning.

Thomson 4k models like UD9 come with HDR10. HDR10 is the most frequently used and easily available HDR format. As it is open source format, it’s much easier to implement by Thomson without needing to pay licensing fee. Thomson has tweaked this HDR format to optimize their 4K TVs. It’s worth noting that most of the HDR Blu ray discs available in the market feature HDR10 format.

Advanced 64-bit Dual Core ARM Cortex A7 Processor

4K Smart TV from Thomson comes with advanced 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex A7 64-bit processor to give TV all the processing power to fluently play 4K content. The 28nm A7 processor is known for energy efficiency through its 8-stage pipeline. It consumes less than 100mW of total power even in extreme conditions. Besides dual-core processor TV also comes with 1 GB of RAM and ARM GPU for easy multi-tasking. Internal memory available in the UD9 model is 8 GB of which roughly 5 GB is free.

Android TV with Miracast

Smart TVs from Thomson comes with Android TV OS. Though the OS is not certified. The user interface is simple and minimalistic. All the options are in the form of solid blocks placed horizontally along the bottom edge of the TV. Netflix alongside the usual social media apps like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are present and the remote even has a hotkey for getting to the Internet Explorer browser in 43’ model. Additionally, news and knowledge apps like NY Times, CNN, BBC, and Wikipedia is present too, that allows the user to sit back and get the latest news on a big screen. As the TV OS is Android based, one can always install more apps on the internal storage. There are two ways of installing apps on Thomson TV. The first option is through the Aptoide TV option, which is a collection of curated content, games, and apps just like Play Store on smartphones. But not all apps available on Play Store are available on Aptoide. The second option is through sideloading APK files through File Manager. Amazon Prime and Hotstar were not supported until the time of writing this article. Upon installation via sideloading Amazon Prime kept crashing and Hotstar did not work at all. We hope the company comes with an official support for these popular apps via software update.

How many times do you feel the urge to view a particular picture/video on your smartphone on a giant screen? The magic of some visuals is best enjoyed on a large screen. Thankfully Thomson Smart TVs come with a Miracast feature to stream media files from the smartphone or tablet on this TV’s giant 43’ screen. But there is a caveat—you need to use mobile/tablet within 5 feet distance for mirroring through Miracast. Also, playing a very high definition video through was laggy and sluggish.

Simple Remote with Some Hiccups

The bundled remote control is fairly simple. But we found buttons on the remote a little stiff. Some other quirks too with the remote. A lot of the apps on the store require a Bluetooth mouse to download. This means even though you can see the app on the store you can’t really use without additional Bluetooth mouse accessory. Another thing to keep in mind while purchasing 4K Thomson TV is that you will need to precisely point remote to the left of the TV (where the infrared sensor is placed) to make it work. This can be a little annoying given the fact that there is no dedicated smartphone app for remote control of the TV.

Pros and Cons of Thomson TV

Biggest plus point for Thomson 4K TV is that it is most economical 4K TV to be offered by a European brand. So, the price-to-performance parameter is one where Thomson scores well. Also, Thomson would be déjà vu for the millennials who might have grown up watching a cartoon on CRT Thomson TV.

Talking about the negatives is the color accuracy. Yellow color Haldi appeared to be greenish on 4k Thomson TV. Remote also has some glitches as we covered under the remote section. Though most of the remote functions are listed in the user guide but not all. Surprisingly there is no mention of the key that brings up the smart menu. It sits unsuspectingly at the bottom right of the remote along with other keys. Couple of lines in the user guide apprising user about the usage wouldn’t have hurt anybody. Audio quality is another let down of Thomson TV. The bundled speakers are weak, and the built-in Surround Mode overdoes its job by making dialogue more unintelligible by adding phase shifts for a pseudo-surround effect. Investment in a good soundbar becomes indispensable for audiophiles using Thomson TV. Finally, its exclusive tie-up with Flipkart is another let down for the users who prefer to test TV in the showroom before making a purchase decision.

Conclusion

In a market largely dominated by Korean and Japanese manufacturers like Sony, Samsung, LG, re-entry of the French giant, Thomson would make the Smart TV market more competitive. Thomson is heavily investing in India and aims to gain over 5% of market share within a few quarters. This means we can expect more variety and improved customer service from Thomson in the future. If you’re looking for a TV with smartness and extra pixels, TV which gives maximum bang for bucks and ready to compromise with the remote and audio quality, Thomson should be your first choice.

About the Author:
Hussain Kanchwala is an Electronics Engineer from University of Mumbai. As an Analyst at BijliBachao he keeps a tab on latest technologies in gadgets and appliances, tracks businesses of white goods companies and monitors the consumer behavior. With a background in engineering, penchant for detail, and flair for writing he regularly write reviews about brands and their products. .

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