Retailing in HD
The attention to HD resulted in changes at the storefront as well. Two months after the broadcast in September 1998, Ovation began to display HD with a Mitsubishi television and a Sencore server that provided HD source material. But what seemed like an obvious move in retrospect was not so obvious at the time. "A lot of our cohorts in the industry looked at us like we were nuts and said, 'You're going to kill your TV business,' " said Mincy. Mincy's answer was, "What we're going to do is facilitate an intelligent buying decision."
As DVD grew, Ovation started selling more big screen TVs. That eventually translated into DTV sales. Mincy also began to aggressively train his staff as quickly as he could. "In '98 and early '99, we put people through three and four hour sessions, all of our staff" he said, "Then we went back for two or three one-hour updates and I'm still doing them."
In the end the goal is building a business where HDTV breeds sales in other categories. Victor Suarez, the other vice president of Ovation, said that by packaging surround sound audio systems and displaying them with HDTVs, it has been possible to sell higher priced systems. "I can take someone from a $600 package to an $800 package and up," he said.