High definition televisions keep getting cheaper and bigger. Sales are growing, especially this holiday season. There seems to be a slight problem with them: lots of people aren't all that thrilled with them once they get them home, and up to 20 percent of them are returned to the store where they were purchased. Why?
Industry insiders say there are many factors behind this phenomenon, including still-maturing technology and consumer confusion about HD. Many sets were returned last year by people who wanted to buy a large TV but didn't realize they were buying an HDTV, McQuivey said. They got it home, plugged it into their standard-definition cable service and were dissatisfied.
"This year, returns should be closer to 10 percent as an average because retailers have learned that they have to educate buyers before they leave the store or the unit is just going to come right back to them," he said.
Bryan Burns, vice president of strategic business operations at cable network giant ESPN, said he continues to be "shocked" by the numbers of people who buy an HDTV set and never subscribe to an HD service.
Burns offered data from a recent study commissioned by ESPN and conducted by Knowledge Networks and Statistical Research Inc. that said only 64 percent of homes with an HDTV have HD programming via broadcast or cable, and that 13 percent of people who own an HD set do not know if they receive an HD signal.
For those consumers that actually understand what they're buying, there's still a problem. Refresh rates for many sets make fast moving images display poorly in HD. So maybe the salesman have to forget about dropping 1080p as a buzzword, and start talking about judder, the halo effect, and ghosting. And maybe they should show you a football game in the showroom instead of balloons going four miles an hour. I don't know about you, but I'm satisfied with the quality of my balloon racing TV images already. The Super Bowl? Not so much.