JioFiber will offer free set-top box with its annual plans, allowing users with non-smart TVs to connect to the Internet and stream from apps like Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon Prime etc.
The launch of JioFiber by Reliance Industries on September 5 is expected to weigh on sales of smart televisions but may help trigger a sales revival for non-smart television sets.
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani had on August 12, at the company’s annual general meeting, announced that its JioFiber service will be bundled with free voice calls and high-speed broadband, besides offering free HD or 4K televisions and a set-top box for those opting for annual plans.
Industry sources told Moneycontrol that prices of non-smart TVs, which do not have native capabilities to connect to the Internet, have fallen with the advent of smart TVs.
Jio's free set-top boxes (STBs) bundle would give a fillip to such TVs by allowing them to connect to the Internet and stream from apps such as Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon Prime etc.
Arjun Bajaj, CEO and founder of television-maker Daiwa, said that JioFiber's launch may be a mixed bag for TVs. "The launch could reverse the tide for sales of normal LED TVs,” he added.
Ambani had announced at the AGM that JioFiber plans will be priced between Rs 700-10,000 per month though more details will be known on September 5.
Sales of smart TVs have been soft in a weak consumption environment and as input costs have remained high. Television sets, up to 27 inches, are taxed at 18 percent while those above 27 inches are taxed at 28 percent.
While sales of TVs online has held up due to discounts, offline TV sales have taken a hit since April, falling about 10-15 percent, according to industry sources. The Cricket World Cup in May, which was expected to revive sales, too did not help.Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd, which also owns Jio, is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust, which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd.