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Best Buy launching ‘Sony Experience’ sections at 350 stores

Sony today announced a new deal with Best Buy to create a “shop-in-shop” showcase of its 4K TVs, 4K cameras, and home audio products, named “The Sony Experience at Best Buy.” The deal will see an expansion of Sony’s newest high end gear appear in 350 Best Buy locations nationwide, with specially trained Sony Experienced Experts selected from Best Buy employees at the helm.

“With user-friendly, interactive demonstration experiences and a dedicated team of Best Buy product experts trained to deliver a world-class experience, the Sony Experience at Best Buy will be an ideal place to inspire, engage and educate consumers about Sony’s home theater products,” said Sony’s COO Mike Fasulo in a press release.

The new launch is designed to give shoppers a first hand look at Sony’s brand new lineup of 4K/UHD TVs, according to the release, in an apparent attempt to dazzle them into stepping up to the spendy new technology. In addition to the 4K TV lineup, the dedicated areas will showcase Sony’s 4K Ultra HD Media Players, the FMP-X1 and FMP-X10, the FDR-AX100 4K HandyCam, as well as some of Sony’s HDTVs, select home audio products, and the PlayStation 4 and associated gear.

If the store-in-store concept sounds familiar, that’s because another big ‘S’ in the home theater business, Samsung, struck a similar bargain with Best Buy a little over a year ago. Samsung’s deal sent its products to over 1,400 Best Buy locations in April of 2013. Samsung today announced it will be sending its growing lineup of curved 4K LED TVs to a paired-down selection of 500 Best Buy locations, along with other select products.

With today’s move by Sony, Samsung will have some heady competition when it comes to attracting Best Buy shoppers with the dizzying 4K/UHD resolution of its biggest and brightest displays. While brick and mortar shops may be losing their luster to increasingly online-leaning shoppers, when it comes to home theater gear, people still like to have a look and listen before they plunk down thousands of their hard-earned dollars. The store-in-store design allows technology companies to tailor the experience to the consumer as they see fit.

Sony’s press release does not make clear whether the company will be hosting any of its new high definition audio products unveiled last Thursday. When DT’s own Caleb Denison met with Sony at a special HD audio event last week, the company hinted at a new deal with Best Buy, as part of an all-out campaign for the promotion of HD audio, though it wasn’t specific on the details. At the time, however, there was conjecture that a special kiosk or in-store section would be set aside to highlight the new gear, which would only make sense. After all, HD audio — like 4K/UHD resolution video — is something consumers have to experience first hand to really appreciate. 

As today’s news highlights, Sony appears to be making sure its newest products are on the front lines of the in-store experience, in attempts to remain relevant, and bring its new direction for high end home theater to the masses. Sony has struggled to keep up with a growing mound of competitors in the marketplace in recent years. We’ll have to wait and see if this latest campaign will reap dividends above a few headlines.

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