By Alexander Villafania
MANILA, Philippines â The market for widescreen television in the
Philippines is gradually increasing as more consumers continue to look at more
fashionable electronics with cinematic qualities.
Prices of widescreen TVs, specifically LCDs, are also in the decline as demand
and competition of different brands increases. Two years ago, a 32-inch LCD TV
would have cost around P45,0000 to P60,000. Now, most 32-inch models have gone
below the P1,000-per-inch threshold.
These units have also become technologically better through the years, particul
arly on the picture quality. Most are only high definition-ready (720p) while o
thers are already capable of playing full high definition (1080p) videos especi
ally from Blu-Ray discs or game consoles such as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
But most Filipinos with widescreen TVs only enjoy just about standard definitio
n (480p) movies, especially those on DVD. They are not actually using up the mo
st of their TVs. Still, some TV manufacturers see the market becoming more soph
isticated as they buy new TVs that produce better picture quality to get the mo
st cinematic experience in their homes.
Brands such as Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic and LG are coming out with
the several models catering to different market segments. Obviously, price dro
ps of widescreen TVs will continue as these brands flood the market with differ
Samsung, on the other hand, is going on a different direction: instead of intro
ducing cheaper widescreen models, they are taking on the premium market segment
. They are the first to introduce LED TVs in the Philippines. These models incl
ude the 40-inch Series 6, 7 and 8.
In a recent tour, Samsung Philippines officials showcased two of their models,
the Series 7 and 8, which come in 46-inch to 55-inch sizes. These are the compa
nyâs flagship models in the LED segment and with good reason: these two are cap
able of Internet access and content download through a Samsung service called D
LNA (digital living network alliance). These also have limited Internet TV capa
Because of these, the Series 7 and 8 are provided with wireless connectivity (a
wireless dongle is required for the Series 7), as well as an Ethernet port to
connect it to a router. There are few TVs that have such connectivity.
While these technologies are still in their infancy, Samsung is already taking
the trend a little further -- that is, while theyâre still ahead. Amby Navarro
and Joanne Roman --Â respectively, the marketing group head and home appliance
product specialist â said their new LED TVs are aimed at making the television
an integral communications tool for the home. The Internet TV and DLNA functio
ns make the Samsung Series 7 and 8 come closer to the realization of a true mul
According to Roman, Samsung Philippines is already talking to several local con
tent providers about creating widgets, which should be downloadable via DLNA. T
hese companies organizations are provided with software development kits (SDK)
that allow them to build widgets specifically for Samsung.
There is no known limit as to what content can be made using the Samsung SDKs t
hough Roman said a company could create a communications tool.
Meanwhile, Navarro believed that by putting more functions in TVs they are crea
ting a new market for the Philippines that will use their TVs for more than jus
t viewing movies but also for communications.
âThe value of a TV increases if its use goes beyond just merely watching someth
ing. These should not be empty boxes that look good but they have to be somethi
ng more dynamic and useful. By putting content, people will enjoy their applian
ce even more,â Navarro said.