London Electronics

When Best Buy first opened I used to spend hours looking at computers, electronics, stereos, and gadgets. I haven’t been in a Best Buy for years except to briefly pick something up since it seems much of the “sizzle” has gone out of that business. However, while in London I stopped in the enormous Selfridges store which has an incredible electronics boutique in the basement and I had a great time looking through all they had to offer.

This television is a Samsung an LG 84″ television with 4K resolution. This means 4000 instead of 1080 like you probably have on your TV. Wikipedia has an article about 4K here and I researched it a bit and most movies are already filmed in 4k and ESPN and many other television shows are also in 4k. I was a bit suspicious about programming because in the demo TV they seemed to have filmed their own (gorgeous) shows with attractive women, flowers, and other items that looked fantastic close up. It was about $25,000.

This television was another Samsung (no surprise) and it was amazingly thin – about as wide as your thumb. Apparently the electronics (connectors, etc…) are in the base of the TV or controlled remotely.

Tube amplifiers have been in demand for audiophiles for years as well as by many electric guitar players seeking vintage guitar speaker stacks. Here Samsung (who else) has devised a tube amp which has gotten good reviews and is very stylish, to boot.

Finally here is a speaker by a company named Loewes that has a great, iconic design and also received solid reviews. Someday when I need to upgrade my sound system I will definitely consider something stylish like this (along with that Samsung tube amp, above).

Cross posted at LITGM

15 thoughts on “London Electronics”

  1. }}} I was a bit suspicious about programming because in the demo TV they seemed to have filmed their own (gorgeous) shows with attractive women, flowers, and other items that looked fantastic close up.

    Yeah, just because they film it that way doesn’t mean they broadcast it that way at all. For now it means they don’ have to buy new cameras when they do, can downsample to Blu-Ray quality or lower for recording (highlight disks for ESPN, etc.), and can release (probably) some impressively high-grade stills to the sports media for use.

  2. P.S., Best Buy is in financial difficulties — their model is failing due to the internet — people go there to look at things, refuse to pay the high prices, and order off the internet. All the more so now that they do their best to make certain they don’t keep knowledgeable employees, even less than they used to.

    “Yes, I work in this department. What? What is ‘VGA’? I dunno, I’ve never heard of it…”

    A number of stores are being closed. They aren’t Circuit City yet but they’re working on it.

  3. “people go there to look at things, refuse to pay the high prices, and order off the internet.”

    Consumer Reports has long encouraged that sort of shopping: Back in the 70’s they advised readers looking for stereo equipment to visit showrooms, carefully study and compare the brands and models, and order from a mail order firm that can charge lower prices because they don’t have to maintain a showroom, sales staff, etc. Today their only concession to basic decency is to suggest that readers ask the local store to match the price offered by an internet retailer.

    Dennis Prager noted in a recent interview that the Talmud teaches that it is sinful to walk into a store and waste a salesperson’s time if you do not intend to buy. But the concept of sin seems to be obsolete.

  4. That said, Best Buy has problems other than competition from online retailers. As noted by various bloggers such as Jeff Jarvis, the company does not always behave ethically. My last attempt to buy something costing more than $20 ended with the realization that not only were some of the sales staff dishonest, the store manager was too.

  5. I’ve been thinking lately that the only hope for some of the big-box stores like Best Buy is to function as a show-room, with floor models of the higher-end appliances, and the bright and shiny new stuff for people to come in and look at – and then allow them to order that item through the store for drop-ship delivery to their residence, or to the store for pick-up. If they only have to keep the smaller items on hand for immediate sale, it would reduce the cost of keeping a huge inventory on hand. I think that would be the only way they could recapture their consumers, that and having expert sales staff and support.

  6. I have a feeling that a lot of this using the showroom and then ordering stuff online deal will end once the feds start making online retailers charge sales tax across state lines. I don’t blame anyone in Chicago for instance for mail ordering things to save the whopping 10% sales tax. And, of course, most of that tax money would have gone into the rathole anyways, but that is certainly getting off topic here.

  7. I think I mentioned in a previous thread that for a recent computer purchase I did the research online, checked stock at local stores online, then drove to the nearest BBY store and purchased the computer. This cost me < 1 hour, I got a look at the actual keyboard and screen before I bought, and I saved several days of waiting for an online purchase to be delivered -- the inverse of shopping at a physical store and then buying online. This is not entirely what Apple does with its physical stores but has some common features. If stores like BBY functioned as well-stocked local warehouses where you could get what you needed quickly they might have some edge against online-only stores. One caveat is that improved delivery service by online merchants may make the model I'm suggesting unworkable. Many brick-and-mortar retailers either don't understand the warehouse model or (more likely) do understand it and have decided they can't compete. Clearly it works for Apple, though Apple has a relatively small line of high-end products, so the comparison isn't perfect. OTOH, to cite a random example, Office Depot stores typically stock only a fraction of the products shown on their website, and what they do stock usually isn't particularly good, and if you buy online you often have to wait several days for delivery or to pick up your purchase at the store. So there's little advantage to buying there as opposed to buying from Amazon or Newegg or another of the more-efficient online-only retailers, unless you need a commodity product in a hurry and don't mind paying up.

  8. Here in the People’s Republic of California they are trying to outlaw LCD screens over a certain size

  9. @Jonathan – I made the mistake of ordering a TV though the Net at Nest Buy and it almost took an act of Congress to get them to stop spamming me. Never again. Score 1 for the brick & mortar stores.

  10. Amazon has gone on record supporting the internet sales tax.
    The official reason is they want more physical presence in some states in order to provide for same day delivery.
    The rumor now is supposedly Amazon has been considering getting into retail outlets, either buying out some one like Barnes and Noble or starting their own Apple-type store.
    This would presumably target the showroom browsers.

  11. I would add that the notion that service is superior at physical stores has always been largely a myth. For every retail store with knowledgeable staff and good selection there are other stores that offer poor service and selection, and sometimes the customer can’t easily discern the difference. Even when sales people are competent their idiosyncratic opinions are often less helpful than are online crowdsourced reviews. So if Congress succeeds in jamming taxation of online purchases down our throats, it isn’t obvious that old-style retailers will regain the market share they’ve lost to online merchants.

  12. Best Buy sales staff are very weak but their “Geek Squad” installers are quite good. They are offering very good prices in sales and I have bought two flat screen TVs there for that reason. One that I bought from Amazon when I lived in the mountains had very poor sound and required an additional sound system. I do get daily e-mails from Best Buy now but they are wasting their time.

  13. A 4K resolution monitor (I hesitate to call it a TV set*), barring the invention of an algorithm with wizardly math (as in CSI’s fictional world), will make the older 4:3 ratio programs unwatchable. The older programs are 640×480 (what is now called 480i) resolution, or about a quarter-of-a-million pixels. A 1080p TV set has slightly over two million pixels, forcing an enlargement of about 8x. A 4K TV of 3840 × 2160 (this resolution isn’t standardized yet—there are others) is eight million pixels, a 32x enlargement. Unwatchable.

    * The primary source of programming on our TV is internet-supplied sports, then downloads, then netflix, then DVDs, then cable, then broadcast.

Comments are closed.