The AP is reporting that Best Buy will begin carrying Sony’s 55″ & 65″ XBR 4K Ultra HD TV starting this Sunday, “in an effort to shake up the stagnant TV category.” The displays will be available for demo and purchase in 700 Best Buy and Magnolia Home Theater locations, and interestingly enough, won’t be carried in any other national chains, although regional retailers like HHGregg and P.C. Richard & Son, as well as mom & pop electronic stores, will be selling the models.
The goal here, it seems, is twofold: firstly, Best Buy hopes to stem the tide of showrooming shoppers who come to the store to demo a piece of gear, then buy it at the cheapest place possible; and secondly, everyone involved is hoping that when customers see what Sony’s $4,999 and $6,999 set have to offer, it will break the trend of shoppers opting for the cheapest model on the shelf.
The cynic in me has to admit that this is probably a profitable approach, given that 4K displays really do look incredible from a couple of feet away (well, as incredible as any TV can look under harsh, bright retail lighting). Of course, customers in Magnolia locations may get a more realistic experience, but even still, I have to wonder if those comfy theater seats will be positioned at seating distance similar to what most viewers will experience at home.
At any rate, the TV market needs a serious kick in the pants, so it’s nice to see a major retailer hopping on the Next Big Thing™ so quickly. Here’s hoping the store managers don’t put those shiny new 4K displays next to this year’s awesome slate of plasmas, though, for their own sake.