Trying to win the future wife’s parents, Le Thanh Trung in Hoang Mai district in Hanoi gave them a present – a LCD 32 inch TV – which has replaced the old CRT TV. However, the parents seem to be unsatisfied with the new TV, because the images are stretched, making things “stout and short.”
The problem lies in the screen ratio of 16:9. If adjusting the ratio to 4:3, the display area would be reduced considerably, not to mention the two black stripes arising on the two edges of the screen which looks very uncomfortable.
In fact, this is the problem a lot of consumers are facing. The advantages of high definition (HD) TVs cannot be shown in Vietnam because of the lack of HD TV programs.
SD TV programs, which have been developed to serve the viewers who watch TV with 4:3 screen in the age of CRT TV, are still popular in Vietnam. Meanwhile, with the rapid development of technology in the world and an open market, SD TV sets have been flooding the Vietnamese market.
Vietnamese urbanites, who are believed to have higher incomes than the average level in the country, now tend to use high technology products of the latest generations. And of course, they refuse CRT TV sets and only buy LCD or LED screen TVs.
Nguyen Do Hung, Business Director of Top Care, one of the biggest home appliance distribution chains, said that 50 percent of TV sets sold are LCD TVs, while LED TVs account for 35-40 percent of the total sales. The remaining 10-15 percent are the products using other technologies such as Plasma, 3D, SmartTV, CRT.
Pico Plaza, another distribution chain, has also provided similar statistics, saying that the majority of the TVs sold are 16:9 TVs with HD-ready (720p) or Full HD.
HD TV is considered the inevitable tendency in the world thanks to its capability of providing high quality images and sounds. Besides, 16:9 is considered the golden ratio for eyesight.
In principle, a HD TV set is best compatible to the TV programs produced in accordance with HD technology. However, since HD TV programs are not popular in Vietnam, people just use HD TVs to watch SD TV programs.
Many factors can be cited to explain why people use “large hammer to beat house mouse.” In Vietnam, people mostly watch TV free of charge, while they still do not have the habit of using pay-TVs. The number of TV channels is not big enough to satisfy the diversified demand of high income earners, while the subscription fees prove to be unaffordable to the majority of viewers.
Meanwhile, only pay-TV provides HD programs.
In fact, TV program producers still have not focused on making HD programs because of the low demand. In an effort to attract more users, HTVC, SCTV, VTC, K+ and AVG, the pay-TV service providers, have launched HD packages with attractive fees. However, the packages prove to be not cheap enough to lure more users.
Vietnamese people still do not want to spend money on TVs. Especially, they also do not want to spend a big sum of money to buy the players needed for watching HD programs.
The current subscription fees are now ranging between 138,000 dong and 275,000 dong a month. AVG has launched a service package with the fee of 88,000 dong. However, AVG’s clients would only access five HD channels with DTT and 7 channels with DTH out of its 66 channels.
In rural and remote areas, the sales of CRT TVs have decreased slightly by 10 percent a year, much lower than the average decrease in the world at 30-40 percent. Therefore, the demand for SD programs remains relatively high.
However, experts believe that CRT TVs would disappear after five years.