Prachi Joshi Johar
NEW DELHI, November 3
Videocon International Ltd (VIL) in conjunction with California-based Telecruz Technologies, has introduced a micro-chip embedded Internet television in India this week. The product would be made available at select outlets throughout the country.
VIL occupies 35 per cent of the five-million units Net-enabled colour television market in India. The company had launched the TV.com, its first Net-enabled TV, last year. The company is targeting a market share of 45 per cent by the end of the year 2001.
Videocon brings in its Internet television at a lower price than that of Mirc Electronic's Web-enabled television Web-Cruiser. Videocon's Internet television is priced at Rs 21,990 while Web-Cruiser carries a price tag of Rs 24,990. The other big player to reckon with is Philips, which lunched its Web TV early last year.
VIL had introduced Web-enabled television with set-top boxes six months ago priced at Rs 6,990. For the set-top boxes, the consumers had to wait for five days to get a Net connection. Hence, certain key changes had to be made in the new product so that the user had access to the Net as soon as he/she logged on.
The new technology involved the installation of a micro-chip in the TV itself, called television application protocol (TAP), which represents an advancement over Web TV. This will help viewers to surf the Net while watching television. VIL has invested $10 million to develop TAP at its development center in San Jose, California.
Talking about the new product, V.N. Dhoot, chairman and managing director, VIL, said, "Other companies have also introduced Net-enabled televisions with external devices such as set-top boxes and an in-built modem but Videocon has a new convergence feature which has the capacity to automatically check one's mail. Besides, there is a light that blinks on the panel that enables the user to know that there is new mail for him."
VIL has made an investment of Rs 400 crore in the joint venture with Telecruz Technologies, which has made the new technology possible. The company has also set up a horizontal portal of its own, called hellovol.com which will be the default home page for its ISP business.
VIL is planning alliances with cable operators across the country for Internet access and hopes to reach two million users by the year 2002. With all this in place, the company hopes to clock a turnover of Rs 80 billion by 2003 and Rs 200 billion by 2007.
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