The Regional Riff
Perry: We display only one ED plasma—an entry-level 42-inch from Panasonic. Now that prices of HD plasma have come down so dramatically, we don't have as much customer resistance to stepping up to HD. Many customers come in asking for "plasma" TV, when they really mean "flat" TV. We take the time to educate the customer and help him or her choose the best technology for their application. Often, moving the customer into a micro-display TV makes the most sense.
Yacoubian: People definitely do want HDTV, but they are still very confused about the sets themselves, about content, about connectivity, about providers, about technologies, etc., etc.—great news for us, the specialty channel! Our job is to remove confusion from the marketplace and fulfill the promise of the technology for our customers. We are doing that every day.
Rosenberg: The early adopters were dialed in right away with HDTV. The newer buyers are impressed by the product's look. Yet in our neck of the woods, New England, customers are laden with issues with the cable companies that customers get hung up on and are very confused with. There are also questions of connectivity and content. If there are five hours of broadcasting a day, which hours and what is on? I think some people, if they have a flat-panel TV, might think they're watching high-definition broadcasts when they aren't. Right now, with DirecTV and DISH Network, or a cable company, though, if it says "high-definition," believe me, you know you've got it. People are very impressed with the whole flat-panel TV category in general anyway because [the form factor] looks so great and the prices are coming down so fast.