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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Govt to impose Import duty on LCD, LED, Plasma TVs... the story of B&W Television

For those of who watch multiple language channels; so many sports channels and more……. through direct to home; CAS and cable – lot of these could be strange news…

Madras had its first tryst with Television in 1975 as Doordarshan Kendra Chennai was inaugurated on August 15, 1975.  At that time, the relay was limited to city and its close suburbs…. ~transmission would begin in 7 pm and extend till 10 pm ~ the second channel came much later…. And a decade later came the colour transmission.  During Test matches there would coverage in the day – there would be interruptions [sorry for the break board !!] – those were the days where there was a single camera – thus you could either see the bowler running away from you and coming in to you in the other end….far cry from the modern day stump camera, sky camera, spider camera and ……   In 1986 tamil serial's were telecasted for the first time ~ and thus opened the floodgates….

It was an era of Black & White TVs and Remote control was unheard of…… the most popular brands were “Dyanora; Solidaire; Telerama…..’  remember purchasing a B&W TV from Hi-Beam Electronics P Ltd at Adyar after waiting for a few days and at a princely price of Rs.1000/- + in early 1980s…… in 1970s only few houses had television sets at home and crowds would gather to watch cricket matches, cinemas, Oliyum and Oliyum [light and sound – 5 or 6 cinema songs would be shown]; drama…. TV news were popular,  then there was the programme ‘Vasagar kaditham’ when letters would be read out [people watched this more because the next week’s cinema would be announced in this]; ‘Vayalyum Vazhvum’ a programme on farmers and agriculture……..

The later day colour TVs were quite big in size…. Until you had the LCDs ~ liquid-crystal display which were flat panel display that used the light modulating properties of liquid crystals. Liquid crystals do not emit light directly. Standard LCD TVs have a backlight which is constantly on during use. Dark areas are created by "turning" the light away from the LCD panel, resulting in a low contrast level and poor clarity in dark scenes.  Then came the improved version ~ LED TV the light emitting diodes are dimmed locally to create deeper blacks in specific areas of the screen, which can also allow for better detail in dark scenes. LED could create much higher contrast ratios; LED TV uses less power, provides a brighter display with better contrast, a thinner panel, and lesser heat dissipation than a conventional LCD TV.  For those who crave for improved technology – there is the Plasma display panel (PDP) is a type of flat panel display common to large TV displays 30 inches (76 cm) or larger. They are called "plasma" displays because the technology utilizes small cells containing electrically charged ionized gases, or what are in essence chambers more commonly known as fluorescent lamps.

Stop…….. this is no technical post on TV but the move of the govt that could impact you !!!!

The prices vary from Country to country and you can commonly see people carrying LED TVs when they return after their trip to Singapore or Dubai……… not any longer, as the Govt has banned the duty-free import of flat screen televisions by air travellers in a bid to prop up the rupee which is skyrocketing presently.   According to TOI, the Govt going by a notification has instructed to “disallow the import of flat panel (LCD/LED/Plasma) televisions as part of free baggage allowance” with effect from 26 August. Air travellers currently can bring a flat screen television for personal use without paying any duty. This would mean air travellers bringing in TVs as part of their baggage from 26 August would have to pay customs duty.

Times of India article notes how the price arbitrage had turned into a lucrative business proposition with several carriers taking flights to South East Asia and making a killing in the domestic market. The import duty will definitely be a spoiler for the business. Starting August 26, the government has decided to levy 36% customs duty on LCD and LED television sets that passengers bring along with them as part of the duty-free baggage allowance of Rs 35,000.  With this the cost of the TV set imported from Dubai / Singapore would go up ~  but could still be lucrative.  

It is stated that the passengers would be allowed to import such TV sets but they have to pay duty at the prevailing rate. The move naturally has buoyed up the TV manufacturers and dealers in India. The availability of cheap television sets in Thailand, Dubai and Singapore had spawned a huge market from India as tourists took advantage of the price difference due to the baggage allowance. Some industry experts said that the practice had been institutionalised and even some established electronics malls in Thailand and Dubai delivered the TV sets at the airport for the convenience of the passengers flying to India. The price differential also triggered tourism packages which were built around the purchase of a flat panel TV.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Aug 2013.



1 comment:

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