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It’s a relief that Ultra High Definition, or UHD, TVs don’t cost a bomb anymore. After years of playing catch-up, Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and Realme, and American ones such as VU and Kodak finally have a lineup each of Android-certified 4K UHD TVs.
These TVs feel every bit like their expensive competitors from Samsung, LG and Sony, and cost much less. And though their screens can’t compete with the colours, contrast and clarity of OLED (Sony and LG) and QLED (Samsung) panels, most people won’t notice — or care about — the difference.
What it means is that you can easily buy a good 55-inch 4K smart TV for as little as Rs 30,000 today, which wasn’t the case a year ago. Kodak’s new CA line-up is a case in point.
Modern TVs don’t have a screen-to-body ratio problem. Most of them have thin borders and Kodak follows the norm. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the design but there’s nothing special about it either. Apart from the quality of the screen, more expensive TVs tend to have metallic frames that stand out. This one’s just a plain black plastic frame. Just hang it on a wall and forget about it.
The Kodak 4K UHD TV runs a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels. It reproduces 4K content with a fair bit of accuracy and supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 — two industry-leading high definition range technologies that enhance the colour, contrast and brightness of a picture.
At least a few shows on Netflix are made for Dolby Vision and there’s tons of 4K content out there. Buying a 4K TV — but not 8K — finally makes sense now. And it only helps that they are considerably cheaper than they were a year ago.
Moving straight to the compromises that come with the low price, I am not a fan of this TV’s colour reproduction. Although it has a peak brightness of 550 Nits and has something known as the MEMC technology, which artificially upscales the frame rate to make moving picture smoother — also known as the “soap opera effect” — the overall experience is subdued by the average colour accuracy and contrast.
On the upside, the TV has two 15-watt bottom-firing speakers that seem loud enough for a large living room. For a more immersive music, movie or gaming experience, buy a 5.1 channel soundbar or just use a pair of Bluetooth headphones.
Android 9 completely takes care of the software. Popular apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube work flawlessly. I am also glad to see that the slightly bulky but sturdy remote controller is without a cheap and unreliable virtual mouse. It’s so much better to use the buttons. The TV has a built-in Google Assistant for voice commands, and Chromecast and Apple Airplay support for mirroring your phone or laptop on to the TV.
The core hardware should have been sufficient to run the TV if not for its underpowered 1.75 GB RAM. The TV takes a second extra to respond to a command sometimes. But for a minimally designed 55-inch 4K UHD Android TV that costs Rs 30,999, it’s a small compromise. In fact, this one’s ready to be brought home.
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First Published: Fri, June 19 2020. 21:59 IST