Are retailers deliberately sabotaging HD-demos?


Senior HTF Member
Feb 2, 2006
Real Name
YiFeng You
a new BB just opened here in Boston (South Bay Mall, specifically).

i have not been to a retail store in 2+ years
cause i always shop online (it's cheaper almost all the time). i was there to buy BSG Miniseries SD-DVD for a friend's wedding this weekend because i forgot about this weekend.

aaanyway, brick&mortar excuse out of the way, i swung by to watch HD-DVD/BluRay demos.

HD-DVD Demo:
1. Samsung 40+", can't remember model. w/Toshiba XA w/Pioneer AVR. Demo movie: Phantom of the Opera.

2. Samsung 60+" with Samsung BR w/Pioneer AVR. Demo movie: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

both were hooked up using HDMI, so at least i give them points for that. but here's the cincher... both movies were SD-DVD versions

so, i asked a few salespeople and the manager why. they said that BB has to pay licenses to playback movie demos instore. in this case, HD discs. they can't just rip a disc open for demo.

am i being BS'd or is this true? i realize there is a "public viewing" thing involved but it's for selling equipment, not for people to watch entire films, although that is possible.


Second Unit
Feb 15, 2005
Real Name
Ben Williams

Yep, it is definitely true that Best Buy stores have to have permission from corporate to play a certain movie in-store. However, both Toshiba and Samsung have shipped demo discs that they should be playing and the stores DO have corporate permission to display them. There's no excuse for them not to be playing the demo at the very LEAST... unless, of course, it was stolen.

Jeremy Little

Supporting Actor
Jun 9, 2001
Our HD DVD disc was stolen and the replacements are no longer available. I assume a new one will be coming soon.

Marty M

Senior HTF Member
Dec 6, 1998
We have a couple of good AV stores locally that will gladly price match BB and CC. I am more confident with their advise and knowledge and they let me choose any material I want to demo at their store.

Jason Harbaugh

Senior HTF Member
Jul 30, 2001
I went out looking to see if any of the stores near me fixed up their demos.

Best Buy: Blu-ray player is now setup away from the tvs, back on a small 32in LCD playing Dinosaur with no sound. The Toshiba wasn't even setup, it was just sitting next to the other numerous DVD players on a shelf. They didn't even have it in their Magnolia store, where it used to reside.

Ultimate Electronics: This is the place that has numerous dedicated theatre rooms. Where are the Blu-ray and HD DVD players? Setup at the exit door. Both are hooked up to the same tv, some Samsung 65" I believe. Two little speakers on either side. I asked one of the guys why it wasn't in one of the dedicated rooms, hooked up to a good sound system and 1080p projector. He said, they wanted them up front so everyone will see them. I then asked if they have sold many, and he said no. No one buys them, only sales have been from people that walk in and ask up front for it. Well no shit, you have poor demos.

I did find a random Blu-ray player hooked up to a 720p plasma in the back. It was playing The Fifth Element, and wow did it look bad.

I have yet to see any store with a good demo system setup to take full advantage of both the picture and sound quality from these formats. I was really disappointed in Ultimate Electronics. They have the room and equipment to setup a perfect side by side demo room featuring both formats. At least one of the associates thought it was dumb how they had the demos setup and even offered to take one down and hook it up in the audio room to demo. I declined as I didn't have much time and knew I wasn't buying anything.

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