18 July, 2007

Buyer Beware

Last weekend saw the first offical HD television broadcast in Ireland. It was limited to the trial recipients (and people in the transmission area with the hardware capable of receiving it). According to the reports it looked fantastic. One thing that it did highlight, however, was peoples lack off understanding surrounding digital TV, HD TV and HD Ready.

According to someone on 2FM, all that was needed to watch it was a HD TV. They thought that the idea of being able to watch the game in HD was so great, they were going to go and buy a new TV. They were wrong, and worse, they may have encouraged others to go out and part with their hard earned cash.

Technology is great. There's tons of cool gadgets and toys these days. The marketing people are finding it hard to keep up. I guess that's why they get together to come up with standard labels for things. It makes it easier on the customer to spend their money, while making an ill-informed purchase. Such as spending €1000+ on a TV which has a HD Ready sticker on it, without ever checking if it is capable of receiving and/or displaying HD television.

I've heard of people buying HD DVD players, not realising that there was a difference between a DVD and a HD DVD.

Lots of people have queued up at Lidl and Aldi for their large HD televisions - many without doing much research, apart from that's a good price for 40".

Have consumers become victims of their own success? Do they have too much money? Why do they gladly part with large chunks of cash, without understanding what they are buying?

Most people wouldn't go and buy a sandwich without looking to see what was in it. Why don't they do the same with modern consumer electronics? If you don't know what something can do then find out. Google is your friend!

If you want to buy something, know what you want it to do. Have some basic criteria that it has to fulfil. If it doesn't meet them don't buy it. If it does more, do you need the extra features? Will you use them? If not, look for a more basic model. Have a budget and stick with it. It's exciting buying new toys, and it's easy to get caught up in the moment. Hold yourself back, the next band wagon is right behind - and it's got better features.

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