AVForums talks to Andreas Adamides and finds out what makes a happy Finnish
The chances are that you’ve heard of Finlux before, the TV manufacturer has been around for nearly fifty years and those of a certain vintage might even remember them sponsoring Sheffield Wednesday in the late Eighties.If you’re a regular reader of AVForums you will probably have noticed a number of Finlux TVs being reviewed since the brand’s relaunch at the end of 2011 - some of which have gained high praise and even coveted AVForums badges. Last week, we went along to Finlux’s offices in London’s West End to meet the Head of FinluxDirect - Andreas Adamides - and find out more about Finlux and discover what makes them different.
The first time that Finlux was used as a brand name was as far back as 1964, when the Finnish manufacturer Iskumetalli first started marketing TVs under that name. The manufacturer itself was renamed Finlux in 1971, marking the first time that Finlux was used as a company name. The brand was a major manufacturer of CRT televisions in the 1980s, which is when it was best known in the UK, appearing on Sheffield Wednesday’s shirts from 1986-88. The company was owned by Nokia in the early 1990s before being bought by a Norwegian company in 2000. However, this new company encountered serious problems with their production line, which was based on CRT TVs. The market was moving towards flat panel TVs and Finlux failed to switch in time, resulting in the company filing for bankruptcy in September 2005.
At this point Vestel enters the story, buying the Finlux brand in 2006 and adding it to the Turkish giant’s growing list of TV line-ups. Vestel is the largest TV manufacturer in Europe and the third largest in the world, accounting for 25% of the UK TV market. However unlike much of Vestel’s line-up, Finlux was to be repositioned as a mid-market TV brand, offering LED, LCD and 3D TVs directly to the consumer. As a result the brand, which is sold in over 40 countries around the world, was relaunched in the UK as FinluxDirect at the end of 2011, concentrating on business to consumer e-commerce. In the wake of a TV advertising campaign ("Happy Finnish") the brand’s relaunch has been a big success, with its web site receiving 1 million unique visitors in the first year.The brand’s relaunch has been a big success, with its web site receiving 1 million unique visitors in the first year.
Andreas feels that this success is a result of an expanding product range that has helped Finlux create a fast growing reputation as one of the most exciting brands in the consumer electronics market. Andreas is keen to stress that whilst they are owned by Vestel, the TV giant allows Finlux a large degree of autonomy - so long as it’s hitting its targets of course. As such Finlux aim to offer products that stand for great design, premium quality and excellent value. The line-up is extensive and covers everything from a basic 19-inch TV to frameless 3D and Smart LEDs in sizes up to 65-inches.
Part of FinluxDirect’s appeal is that not only are their TVs well made, stylish and technologically capable, they also offer exceptional value. As a direct-to-consumer brand, backed by Europe’s largest TV manufacturer, they clearly benefit from better pricing from the factory than other leading brands. In addition, as an online-only business selling exclusively in the UK, they benefit from streamlined operations and low running costs, resulting in savings that are passed on to their customers. When you buy a TV from FinluxDirect, there is free next day delivery from their dedicated central distribution centre and even the option to select morning or afternoon delivery. All their TVs come with a 12 month guarantee and if something should go wrong, Finlux Direct have a dedicated customer service team that can answer calls, emails or live chat seven days a week.
Andreas is keen to stress that moving forward all Finlux TVs will use a slim LED design and include a USB PVR recording capability as standard. He also mentioned that most will include their Smart TV platform, which currently concentrates on video on demand services. Finlux have already launched a remote app and Andreas said that going forward they would introduce 200Hz technology and expand the Smart TV platform to include a video window in the portal, an open web browser, Netflix, Zeebox and Skype. There will also be a separate camera available for those that wish to make Skype video calls. When asked why they used a WiFi dongle rather than just building the wireless capability into the TV, Andreas explained that they felt it was better that way because a dongle can be easily replaced if anything goes wrong. If anyone was in doubt as to how fast we can expect Ultra High Resolution TVs to reach the mainstream, Andreas also said that FinluxDirect expect to have a 4K UHD TV available “within 12 months.”
Andreas also said that FinluxDirect expect to have a 4K UHD TV available “within 12 months.”
Whilst the company has primarily concentrated in TVs to date, they have begun to offer some audio products, including their new SonaX3 120W multi-purpose sound system. Perhaps in recognition of the poor audio found on many modern ultra-slim TVs, this is designed to beef up the sound of your TV by delivering a complete home cinema experience with integrated dual speakers, subwoofer and amp, all built into a compact and carryable cube design. It's certainly been an eventful eighteen months for FinluxDirect and Andreas himself, but with a strong product line-up, that is generating good reviews and positive feedback, the brand hope to go from strength to strength. The Finlux brand has had its ups and downs over the years but with the weight of Vestel behind them and the promise of new technologies and a continued emphasis on quality, value and customer support, there might well be a Happy Finnish after all.
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