The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Grab a movie indoors, king-size

Watch the latest blockbuster on a giant screen, with crystal-clear surround sound, in the comfort of your living room. Hi-end electronics for the home are growing in popularity in Calcutta and the keyword in picking them out is “interactive”.

With home theatre systems, a Rs 80-crore industry nationally, gaining ground in the east, big players for hi-end products are increasing their presence in Calcutta. Onkyo, LG, Jamo, Bowers & Wilkins and Barco are the brands on show at Promises Instruments, on Shakespeare Sarani, inaugurated by tabla player Bikram Ghosh on Wednesday.

The city is still “streets behind” other metros in terms of demand, but high-end manufacturers are expecting growth in this region.

Samsung, too, opened its first DigitAllhome outlet at Ballygunge on Wednesday, showcasing the electronics major’s range of digital products, from projectors to refrigerators. Both are designed to help browsers imagine how the products will fit into their homes.

A demo of the top names in home entertainment centres at Promises is a treat for the senses. Clips from a war movie on the screen transport the viewer to the heart of the battlefield. Every chord on the guitar resonates, engulfing the listener. The package could include a Barco projector (the same system used at the Science City Time Machine) which can be hooked up to a DVD system, a VCR and even a computer, and Dolby sound on Jamo or Bowers & Wilkins speakers. Smaller systems too — starting at Rs 38,500 — which play DVD, VCD, audio CD and MP3, provide more affordable “sound solutions” which can be installed according to the acoustics of the living space.

A more complex system could cost up to Rs 15 lakh. Servicing for Onkyo products will also be handled by the store.

Promises had a showroom in Ballygunge, but chose to shift to the larger premises to accommodate rising demand. The company has, over the past three years, found numerous home and institutional clients, despite the relatively high costs, largely inflated by steep import duty.

“Several corporates in Calcutta have installed units like this in their offices and organise movie evenings for their employees,” explains Manoj Bhatia of Promises. The retailer’s plans include live demonstrations at housing complexes and clubs.

At the Samsung DigitAllhome centre in the city, projection TVs, DVD players, plasma TVs and home appliances will be on display in an “interactive” fashion. Positioned more as a “lifestyle” destination, hands-on demonstrations at the store will help customers experience products as they would at home.

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