While I don’t normally cover televisions as part of my blog, I wanted to feature the Samsung 3D LED HDTVs as a parallel to the mobile industry in this post.
I’ll start here. In the United States, mobile operators have driven adoption of mobile phones to near 95% market penetration, in large part to handset subsidies. Devices that normally costs $500 or more, are marked at 50% off or more, provided that the subscriber is willing to be locked into a 24 month contract. You might still pay an activation fee, but certainly will pay the sales tax, based on the full price of the handset.
It has only been recently that handsets are being sold at stores unlocked and at the unsubsidized price. Even Netbook bundles from mobile operators have had subsidies, locking one into a USB data stick or integrated cellular modem.
So the next evolution for companies such as AT&T, Comcast, DISH Network, Verzion and others:
How does it all add up? Take the latest RIM Blackberry Torch. The unsubsidized price listed online at AT&T is $499.99. The 2-year commitment price is $199.99. The net difference is $300, which amounts to $12.50 a month from monthly subscription fees to eventually pay back the device. And AT&T now requires you to sign up for a data package when activating any new Blackberry of at least $15.00/month.
Now apply this example towards a Samsung 46″ HDTV with BluRay DVD Player package. BestBuy.com lists (at time of writing) the TV for $999.99. What if the subsidized price for the same TV could be $299, provided that you signed up for a 2-year commitment to a Cable or Satellite provider? It would require you to sign up for the plan just above the basic HDTV package. Each month, about $29 from your subscription fees would be apply to eventually pay back the device.
This would certainly drive a lot of people to switch to the first package to offer such a deal. And the bonus? Samsung is offering the HDTV BluRay DVD combo that has Internet capable device that will have access to Samsung Apps. This list is attractive such as twitter, Flickr, Skype, NetFlix, AccuWeather, Google Maps, and much more.
So Cable and Satellite providers out there…me and millions of others are waiting for it. Who is going to be the first to try out this new business model to keep us watching TV? I am in the market for a new HDTV.