Some of you out there are sitting on your couch, staring at a 15-year old RCA 35” CRT and wondering how you’re going to convince your spouse to finally get a flat panel TV. Well, this year there is some great new technology that should get the who family excited about trading up.
First off, let's not assume that the WIFE is the problem here. Typically, consumer electronics manufacturers have pegged her as being the roadblock to the flat panel purchase. Industry insiders even have a term for the elusive traits that they perceive will convince women to willing accept the electronics purchases typically made by men – the Wife Acceptance Factors (WAF).
But with women now representing 40% of consumer electronics spending, that flat panel buying wet-blanket could just as easily be the husband. In fact, women love watching movies and TV shows in beautiful, vivid, high-definition as much as men do. They just don’t love the same juvenile Adam Sandler comedies and boring golf shows, and women don’t give a damn whether Derek Jeter is in HD or not (okay, maybe they do, but not for the same reason as men).
Regardless of who the reluctant one is in your household, here are five great reasons why this year's crop of TVs should get your spouse off their butt and into the showroom:
1. Internet Apps allow you to do much more than watch TV
Netflix , Blockbuster, Amazon, Vudu…There are so many choices for streaming movies to your TV you’ll never need to run out to the movie rental store again. Watch the latest Matthew McConaughey movie or pull down a Disney flick to keep the kids entertained while you and your spouse spend a little more “us” time (aw, isn’t that romantic…). You can even go on Facebook, check traffic and weather and watch YouTube videos.
Almost every brand now offers TVs and Blu-ray players that come with these Internet apps built-in, even on their mid-range models.
2. You can video chat in comfort with Skype TV
Both LG and Panasonic will be offering built-in Skype capability on their new models coming out this Spring. So now you will be able to talk with the grandparents from the comfort of your couch rather than crowding everyone around the webcam on your computer. The downside is that now your mother-in-law can see what a disaster your living room is – start cleaning!
Available on high-end models from LG, Panasonic and Samsung, and, likely, others soon. I expect this to become available in mid-range models quickly.
3. Your kids will love playing games in 3D
Everyone is touting 3DTV for watching sports and movies, but its appeal is much broader than that. In fact, we think the biggest benefit of 3DTV will be for the video game platforms your kids play – PlayStation, initially. There will be tons of 3D game content and kids are going to be eager first adopters.
Samsung and Panasonic already have their first 3DTVs for sale and LG, Sony and Vizio have announced plans for rolling out models this summer. Most major manufacturers will have 3DTV models out this year. Initially, it will just be top of the line sets, but mid-range will follow quickly.
Existing Sony PlayStation3s will be able to handle 3D games, but we're still waiting to hear Microsoft and Nintendo's plans for Xbox and Wii.
4. Wireless TV lets you reclaim your living room
A new flat panel TV may actually result in less electronics and more space in your living room! How? Many of the latest models have built-in wireless capabilities, so the entire entertainment system – the A/V receiver, cable box, DVD player – can be moved to a convenience corner or even into a closet. If the model you want doesn’t have built-in wireless, there are plenty of add-on solutions available.
This option is available from most manufacturers on their high-end sets, and third-party add-on units are available from Philips, Gefen and Monster Cable (See Wireless TV Provides a Pristine Entertainment Experience).
5. Your TV can double as a digital picture frame (in 3D, too!)
Many flat screens will play pictures either from an SD card or UBS key, through your wireless network or from a photo-sharing site. Your kids will look almost life-size on that new 65-incher! And the new 3DTVs will let you see photos and videos of your kids in ultra-realistic 3D. Fujifilm already has a 3D camera (See World's First Consumer 3D Digital Camera Shoots Stills and Movies) on the market and DXG has announced plans to launch a 3D camcorder this summer for only $179.
Almost ubiquitous on most TV models, except for the lowest-end models. You'll need to go with a 3DTV if you want the 3D capability, though.