As was evidenced at the recent Consumer Electronics Show, 2011 is the year of the connected TV. Finally, we have a lift off. That said, Houston we have a problem. So quick and quiet has been the replacing of 3D televisions with connected televisions on store shelves that someone forgot to tell the staff what a connected TV actually is.
Mark my journey. Three weeks ago, before CES, I took my earnest new son-in law, Jay, to the local big box retailer to show him the family business. You know, a little bonding time, a little time for him to see the old man in action. Perhaps I’d show him a thing or two as I conversed on the same level with the geeky floor expert, aptly demonstrating my prowess in this vast new empire. That didn’t happen. Geek sales associate number one had never heard the phrase “connected TV.” I looked like a numbskull for asking and since no one else was available to help us, we left the store.
This past Saturday we decided to give it a go again. Off to our favorite consumer electronics retailer. Having read the Sunday circular, and seeing all the screens with a Netflix logo I was certain we’d strike pay dirt. Not only would I leave with a new connected television, I’d wow my son-in law in the process.
The good news was 50″ plus televisions were flying out of the store, six in the 30 minutes we were there. The bad news was they weren’t the connected ones. Wierd. This time I sought out ahead of time the “kid with the most training.”
The very best looking value on the floor was the Sharp 60″ LED-LCD connected television, yet geek sales associate number two kept pushing me away from it. “All you can do with that one is Netflix”, he said. Hmmm, that is true. Netflix is the only application on that set right now. But, THIS IS A CONNECTED TV, is it not? With that, you are never more than a point, click and a wish away from anything your heart desires on the Internet.
So, here’s the disconnect: why would a consumer electronics retailer proudly advertise connected TVs and not train staff to sell them? Are they still recovering from the 3D debacle? Are they simply trying to dump inventory? Are they waiting for Google, Apple, etc. to get it all together? I don’t know the answer, but I bought a connected TV despite their efforts to stop me.
Once home, a massive 60” Sharp installed in the family room, Netflix successfully downloaded, I sat there staring at my new connected TV. Sure, I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with it, but I’m a believer in television and I know the powers that be in every corner of the broadcast and Internet entertainment industry will soon offer me something.