Linsar - A British success story?

Steve Withers

Reviewer
In a market dominated by the Koreans and Japanese it's always nice to see a UK company mixing it with the big boys. One such company is Linsar and whilst you might not be familiar with them at the moment, you will be hearing a lot more about them in the near future. Two weeks ago we popped down to their head office at Hurn Airport just outside Bournemouth to find out more.

The company was founded over six years ago by Barry Kick and Terry Reed, both of whom have very strong backgrounds in the AV industry. The two founders previously worked at companies such as Akai, Ferguson and finally Thomson but when the French manufacturer closed their doors, they decided to set up a company selling their own branded TVs into the UK market. Whilst they could have just distributed an existing brand, Barry and Terry wanted to create a unique brand of their own and thus was born Linsar. Of course if you're going to create your own brand you need a name and in the case of Linsar, the name is actually an amalgamation of Lynne and Sarah, the wives of the two owners.

Whilst Linsar is a UK company, the TVs aren't actually made here and instead, like many other brands, they are assembled at Vestel's gigantic factory in Turkey. However, it is Linsar that choose the various designs and components, fashioning a TV that they feel caters to the specific needs of the UK market. The concept is to make the company efficient and nimble, thus keeping overheads low and allowing them to react quickly to changes in the marketplace. Linsar's ultimate goal is to produce a wide range of good entry priced products that provide un-compromised value in today's difficult economic environment.


Vestel are the quiet giant when it comes to TV production, making models for over 500 different TV brands across the world. They operate a gigantic state-of-the-art factory in Turkey which attracts the best talent from Turkish universities. Whilst Vestel do use panels made by LG and Samsung, they also manufacture their own, as well as doing their own moulding and producing chip sets, power supplies and main board assemblies. Vestel's Turkey facility delivers 200% quality assurance and Linsar only use the A grade panels, ensuring there are no dead pixels. Vestel also produce a number of different chassis for each model, allowing Linsar to combine different elements to create their own unique brand. Linsar are then able to feedback to Vestel, pushing them to enhance their products and thus improve the Linsar brand.

Until recently, Linsar's primary models have been in the smaller screen sizes because traditionally this part of the market is less brand sensitive. They initially offered 19 to 26” LCD TVs using a CCFL backlight and then added similar screen sizes but with an LED backlight. They also introduced TV/DVD combis in similar screen sizes and about three years ago, combis accounted for 80% of sales in these smaller screen sizes.

More recently Linsar have started to offer larger screen sizes including a 32” in four different ranges, as well as a 40” LED LCD and a 46” LCD using a CCFL backlight. All Linsar models over 32” include a Freeview HD tuner and all models include their Plug-Play-Record feature which allows you to watch or listen to content via a USB thumb drive or record content from the EPG via a USB drive or powered HDD. Linsar have also introduced a range of much slimmer models to make wall mounting in bedrooms easier. In the near future, Linsar will be releasing 46” and 55” LED LCD TVs and they will also be releasing passive 3D sets, including a 24” screen aimed at the 3D gamer.

These days there is very little lag between the primary TV manufacturers developing new technology and the secondary ones implementing it and freed from the need to invest vast sums into research and development, Linsar is able to concentrate on other factors. They feel they are operating in a different market to the likes of Samsung and as such they aim to provide a quality product at competitive prices. They also feel that due to their size they can respond to client demands and offer a higher level of customer support. To help deliver this goal, they run a support centre out of their Bournemouth offices that is staffed by people that actually know the products. They are also confident enough in their product to offer a five year guarantee on their TVs, a straight swap in the first year and repair in the other four.


Linsar TVs can be bought from various premium retailers, including John Lewis, and they are now being sold in the larger Waitrose stores. Their relationship with John Lewis has developed a great deal over the last six years and the retailer was so impressed by the customer feedback for Linsar and the lack of returns, that Linsar now produce John Lewis's own brand of TVs.

So what does the future hold for Linsar? Well one of the big areas of development over the last few years has been smart TV and Linsar have plans to launch their own platform. However unlike many of the other TV manufacturers, Linsar feel that watching TV is inherently a passive activity and thus they see little value in offering an interactive platform. They don't want their platform to be 'dumb' of course but what they want to offer is a platform that delivers passive content that actually helps people watch TV and gives them better control over that content. Linsar are looking at using a cloud based platform that combines all the usual video on demand services like iPlayer, YouTube, Netflix, LoveFilm etc. but will also add other third party content.

Linsar feel the key to the new platform's success will be how easy it is for people to actually access the smart TV content. To this end, Linsar plan to include all the VoD content within the existing programme guide, allowing users to select content just as they would any other programme. This approach has always been central to Linsar's philosophy of taking their understanding of what the customer wants and then applying existing technologies more effectively to meet those needs. They also try to find out what a product means to a customer and thus they can tailor it more to their lifestyle. For example Linsar already use remote controls with large buttons to help older users and those with poor eyesight but they hope to take that to the next level, offering a product that benefits an aging population.

This approach has certainly been successful for Linsar so far and in this Olympic year, it is certainly encouraging to see a British company doing well in such a competitive market. One thing is for sure, Linsar can expect to reap further rewards, just as long as the keep listening to their customers.
 

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mjcairney

Distinguished Member
Hi Steve, thanks for an interesting article.

Do you plan to review any of their sets in the near future?

Cheers,

Martin.
 

eiren

Distinguished Member
Did they have much to say about how much effort they'd put in AV excellence in their range? Have they got any high-end sets on the way?
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
They certainly have some larger sets on the way and better features but the only way we'll be able to find out how they perform in terms of AV excellence is to get them in for review.
 

Scooby2000

Distinguished Member
Great article Steve, fantastic to see a bit company doing well and I like their ethos.

I'm guessing plasma would be too expensive to make with too small a market, do you think it likely they'll bright able to get into OLED in a few years after costs fall?

Be great if you could review their bigger sets soon as there's a lot more people wanting insanely cheap 40" sets on here now.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Yes Scooby plasma is too small a market and as for OLED, I think affordable models from anyone are a few years off yet.

Hopefully we'll get some of their larger sets in for review soon.
 

Sephiroth0000

Novice Member
If they can make it work good on them. Let's see if us Brits can indeed do it better :)
 

mephistophelean

Novice Member
This sounds really exciting and it's good to see a British manufacturer doing well and expanding.

"Vestel’s Turkey facility delivers 200% quality assurance.."

What does this mean? They do QA twice as much as everyone else?
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
200% QA just means the panels are checked twice, which I'm sure is standard among the large manufacturers. It basically ensures that the panels Linsar use are free of dead pixels etc.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Interesting.
I never knew Vestel were so highly rated.
Truth be told, I'd got it in my head they were poor :confused:
 

smallangryboy

Active Member
Hats off to someone with the stamina to wrestle products out of the east and back to the UK but why do their products have to be so bland, is that really what the UK wants?
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
We do indeed, thanks for spotting my 'deliberate' mistake.
 

bzz

Standard Member
I don't suppose there's any hint of larger sets (42" upwards) with Active 3D/Smart 2D-3D conversion becoming available in the near future.....? Personally, I'm looking to get a 46" model with the active 3D soon. Would be great if LINSAR made a model like this...... :lease:
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
I don't suppose there's any hint of larger sets (42" upwards) with Active 3D/Smart 2D-3D conversion becoming available in the near future.....? Personally, I'm looking to get a 46" model with the active 3D soon.
No from what Linsar told me, they will only be making passive 3D sets going forward.
 

Crunchie

Active Member
Thanks Steve - at last, something BRITISH to look out for! Interesting about the no-dead-pixel guarantee as some buyers of the new LG range are reporting dead pixels but LG are apparently saying you need 6 dead pixels before they'll consider a TV faulty!
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Different from whom?
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
I think the Vestel omponents are essentially the same but it depends on which components the different manufacturers choose and whether they're prepared to pay for the higher quality ones.
 

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