Best Buy Aims to Help Consumers Understand HD

Sep 27, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Almost 90 percent of U.S. consumers admit they don’t have a complete understanding of high-definition television, according to a study released Tuesday by retailer Best Buy.
In order to better educate consumers, Best Buy has launched a campaign called HD Done Right, formulated from the findings in the study, with resources available online, by phone and in-store.
“As more and more people invest in new high-definition televisions and expand their home theaters, Best Buy wants to ensure our customers fully appreciate what’s needed to get the most from their purchases,” said Mike Vitelli, Best Buy senior VP and general manager for home solutions, said in a statement.
“We want to serve as a trusted resource to our customers by helping them understand the necessary components and how to make the right budgeting decisions so they can have a truly outstanding HD experience in their home,” he added.
The study revealed that a majority of the confusion stems from the purchasing process rather than technical issues. Nearly 66 percent of people said they needed a budgeting tool to help them with their HD purchase, according to Best Buy spokesman Brian Lucas.
“The industry has taken a simple purchase process and made it more confusing,” said Mr. Lucas. “Consumers will spend all their money on the television without factoring in the need for other cables, installation costs and possible satellite or cable upgrades.”
To help people understand the actual cost of purchasing an HDTV, the campaign’s Web site, AskABlueShirt.com, offers a budgeting tool with advice for those planning to buy high-definition television sets.
In addition, the Web site provides a questionnaire to help consumers gauge whether they are getting the full HD experience and an HDTV glossary that helps decode jargon. A breakdown of the four main components of the HD experience (HD-ready TV, programming source, sound and installation) also is available
For those looking to speak to a live person, the HD Done Right Hotline allows people to talk with home theater specialists, and Best Buy stores will continue to provide consultations with its staff about purchasing HDTVs.
Mr. Lucas said the study was not conducted to coincide with the approaching holiday shopping season. It was commissioned a few months ago after hearing anecdotal information from Best Buy employees that customers did not fully understand HD, he said.
“Customers would say things like, ‘The picture looks terrible,’” Mr. Lucas said. “It doesn’t do the customers any good if we can’t help.”
Mr. Lucas said the survey comes at a good point because it’s a big time for television viewing with football season starting and fall premieres airing.
The survey is based on more than 1,000 telephone interviews with a random sampling of people across the country.


  1. Best Buy is telling customers that their analogue tv will not work after 2009. While most cable companies plan to keep an analogue tier as long as their customers need it. Seems like a ploy to sell more sets.

  2. Beware of Best Buy….I purchased a HD TV from them….the salesmen talked me into their private label brand, Insignia….after 4 months the tv quit working and I took it back to Best Buy for an exchange…I wanted to trade up to a Sony but they wouldn’t let me…they only offered to repair the tv. I will never buy another item from Best Buy again.

  3. I bought a Samsung HD set from them and it arrived with a samshed case! Now here comes the good part- they took it back and redelivered it and it works great! No fuss they made the appointment work for my timeline and I got a nice letter of apology from them. Stop hating they did right by me.

  4. I agree with Dave. They always tell unknowing customers that their analog TVs will not work after Feb. 2009, which of course is wrong if you (like most viewers) have cable, satellite or a set-top box. Their real agenda is selling HDTVs. That’s not too surprising, but their methods are suspect. I told them this in a recent survey but never got any feedback.

  5. What best buy is doing is to produce a great sales tool. If someone wants to really get to know what HD is all about, contact the engineers at your local television stations. Talk with several to get a well rounded approach. If you wish call 1-888-CALL FCC and talk with them also.
    What is even more confusing to the market about the 2009 deadline is that it does not apply to 80 percent of the television stations on the market. You heard me right. Let me explain. There are two classes of television station. One the full power station which are in general the most popular. But there is another class called low power television which also includes class A, LPTV, and translator stations which are not yet a part of the 2009 cut off date. There are four times as many low power stations than full power. ONLY the full power stations are required to shut off their analog in 2009. The low power stations have not yet been given a cut off date and there is still industry debate on what to do for this class of station.
    Set top boxes are like the old cable converter boxes and they are filling the gap so that the old analog set will still be able to view the full power station in your area.
    Get out and read the trade magazines, the web sites on high definition, and learn for yourself.
    SD or HD SD is standard definition digital and HD is high definition digital. A station can send 6 streams of standard definition programming on the same bandwidth that it takes to send one high definition program. I am hearing that new technology is in the wings to get even more standard definition on a channel and at the same time send a high definition package. Designers are developing better and more stuff all the time. The SD quality is not quite as sharp as HD. Read up on what this is all about.
    These are some things to look up. Find out which stations are full power and which ones are low power in your area. In general the larger cities have mainly full power stations whereas the smaller more rural areas are served by more low power stations which are repeating and bringing to you signals from the full power stations in the larger more distant markets.
    One thing, the low power stations are permitted to convert to digital now if they want to, but they are not yet required to. The only way you will know when a given low power station will convert to digital is by calling that station and ask them or if they advertise it over the air.
    Sorry if I made it more confusing to some. by the way I have found many high definition satelite systems installed locally in such a way that the hi def programming was being watched, but they were watching it in NTSC — analog format. The users had paid for high def but were not getting it on the screen. That my friends is a separate topic. Might explain that later.
    Have fun. Its a brave new world.

  6. As to the number of broadcast television stations required to shut down their analog broadcast feeds on 2/17/09; the correct number is 1,756.
    As to the correct number of of broadcast television stations (including Translators; Low Powers, and Class A Stations) that do not have to shut down their analog broadcast feed on 2/17/09; the correct number is 7,312.
    Of those over 7,000 TV stations; most will not stop transmitting their analog signal on 2/17/09.
    Bob Pettitt
    KRHP TV-14
    The Dalles, OR

  7. hey Bob, are you THE Bob Pettit, the Hall of Fame Basketball star? Lets say you and me have a lil one on one, or are you CHICKEN?

  8. I have read more news reports of Best Buy conducting surveys to determine how much people know about HD and maybe they are trying a little harder to provide some accurate information about HD then the average sales crew. One of my favorite pastimes was to go down to the local stereo store and see how much they knew about the electronics they were selling. I would ask questions like “Explain to me how the Dolby noise reduction system on a cassette deck works.” Or “I would ask what is the difference between B and C Dolby settings and why should I use one over the other?” I found very few salesmen could answer the first question and none got even close to right on the second.
    So now maybe we should come up with a test for HD television sales staff and see if they can pass the test. How many sales people that you know can answer in simple terms “how are the video signals different for component, composite, or hdmi? and which provide better quality video?” Or more basic answer questions like “what is the difference between interlace and progressive scan?” “What does the frequency of the scan rate refer to?” I challenge you to call up your favorite sales person and ask them these simple questions and post the answers you get here.
    Another more basic question — how can you tell if you are watching in HD on a HD capable TV set? Call up Best Buy and ask them these questions and at the same time call up several other retail electronics outlets and lets see just how well they stack up. Put em to the test.
    I don’t know that we want to get into their personal backgrounds or not. Is it fair game to ask them “what kind of training and experience do you have to work in sales selling hi definition television products?” See if they answer as some kind of sales or marketing or if they have much experience with electronics or television technology. Lets hear back on these questions and see just how well they stack up. Best Buy from a corporate level seems to be making a better stab at it, lets see how well it trickles down to the sales staff on the floor.

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