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Retailers are closing...

by Timmy Treu

Oh well.. the sign of the times? To a certain extent, although it is not all “crisis” driven! Think of it. It is mainly related to the nearly total incompetence of customer relations. Even mass merchants are reducing space. There though, the reasons are different – they never had a relation with the customer anyway!

So? Where do we go from there? To a purely virtual world? At least this is an option. Look at the last quarterly results of No need to drive to the store! No need to talk to an incompetent salesperson! They even know what you like! They send you an e-mail, proposing products to your taste, which you can read at your leisure! THIS is the new world of relations with the customer.

Let’s face it, though… it is not all virtual! There is still the human weakness of wanting to touch goods, before you buy them! The possibility of browsing through shelves, like in the “good ol’” book stores, proves that we still need these very intimate moments.

There is however a generation-gap! There are those who are born “analogical”, and those born “digital”. It is this latter group that is basically changing the retailing environment, those who grew up (and still grow up) WITH a PC in their children’s room. The FaceBookers, the MySpacers and the like.

In all this I do believe that the only e-tailer who has effectively managed to (at least in the US) to “grab” both generations, is Apple with its iTunes phenomenon. In a matter of a few years iTunes has become the #1 outlet for music. And should the studios finally decide to get on that “train” on a large scale, there is a good chance it could become the #1 outlet for movies as well.

What a change in consumer habits! Now I understand why it is called “software”, intangible as it is – even if it could have been called “download-ware”. It’s just too bad that piracy will over time erode even this business, if society does not find a way to apply sense-full DRM systems. This way the headline of this article in a few years’ time could read… “e-tailers are closing…”?

And then? Back to the old days… record music from radio on recording devices on some flash-cards, the same for movies recorded off TV… and we will listen/watch them on our pda.

No… we are just moving to a memory-less generation. Meaning there might be no need anymore to record anything; it may all be simply on-demand, pay-as-you-go…

.. in the meantime retailers are closing!

Column Comments

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There has been a lot of hype about 3D TV. But the industry getting behind a broad realm of technologies is a far cry from a monetisable mass market. Fundamentally, 3D is complex, more so than HD as technology and ecosystem. Screen Digest' TOM MORROD examines the issue.

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Supply is a big piece of the puzzle and crucially, like HD, 3D is an ecosystem. It is certainly about the TV receiver, polarised or active switching; the glasses (easily forgotten but not necessarily 'in the box'). But it also takes in the decoding device - set-top box, games console or BD player; the distribution medium (broadcast/unicast), games console or 3D BD; the content and the process of capture, editing and contribution, including broadcasting infrastructure when not printed to disc.

Only about 20 per cent of broadcaster equipment is HD, 30 per cent of TV screens and less than that of set-top boxes. We are still in a very early stage of actual upgrade across the HD ecosystem. And while the HD infrastructure across broadcasters and operators can be used to transmit lower resolution 3D to some existing HD PVRs, all those TV screens will need replacing.

Price is a murky issue spanning both consumer and professional equipment. Many of the early announced prices for 3D TV sets are considerable inflations on similar non-3D TVs. This is especially true for passive polarised, where more technology is built into the display. However, active switching, offering screens at similar prices to non-3D displays, have a hidden cost: the glasses may cost up to $150 a pair, a major consumer cost.... Read More...