Today I spent an hour at Smart Buy hunting for a flat screen TV for our office’s meeting room. I was looking at screens 40-50 inch in size. My hunt started a few days ago at Carrefour’s electronics department.
Complaining about the prices of electronic in Jordan is one of my favorite pastimes. I will do that in a minute.
But first a news flash: Blu-ray players have hit the shelves of Smart Buy today. This is the first time I see Blu-ray players in Jordan.
Here is the Samsung BD-P1400 player..
And the Sharp Aquos BD-HP20SA player..
The price: 489 JD for the Sharp player and almost the same for the Samsung one..
Now, SmartBuy is the self proclaimed king of electronic stores in Jordan, but, they still manage to misspell the label:
Welcome the PLUE RAY technology everyone!
And 489 JDs are almost 700 US$. Gues how much this player costs in the US: 300-400 US$. We’re being asked to pay double..
I also found out that we can now buy HD compatible satellite receivers. The only one Smart Buy had was from Humax and retailed at 365 JDs.
My visit to Smart Buy this evening was fascinating. I counted no less than 5 Ammani couples showing keen interest in flat screen TVs. Many models on display where out of stock. The market seems to have taken off since the last time I checked. The prices have come down. But when I compare prices to the US or the UK I still feel totally ripped off as a Jordanian consumer. The cheapest Sony Bravia 40″ I could find at Smart Buy today was for JD 1300. A similar model in the US would be in the US$ 950 range (that’s less than JD 700). Again: double the price.
As usual, I overheard the sales people’s CLUELESS answers to most of the customer’s questions. People coming into these stores are totally lost. What is Full HD? What is HDMI? What’s the difference between plasma and LCD? The answers are often wrong or incomplete. That’s why I am putting together a very simple intro/guide for the mysterious world of HDTV shortly and posting it on 360east.
Beside the clueless answers I noticed a lot of chaos in the way the TVs where being promoted. Both Carrefour and Smart Buy have no problem playing non-HD content on the nice HD screens. Any satellite station would do (maybe they want to be honest about the fact that you will not be able to receive HD broadcasts in the Middle East yet). Then they have a huge mixup regarding the HD promotional videos that they do display. You see an LG video playing on a Sharp TV and a video from the Chinese (pretending to be German) brand G-Hanz playing on Sony, Samsung and Philips TVs..
The message: we don’t give a crap. It actually depresses me when Jordanian “upscale” retail is done in such a sloppy manner.
Still, the people seem to be buying the glitzy gadgets. Not far away from the well-to-do west-Ammani couples examining large LCD TV’s was a group of Egyptian construction workers discussing the purchase of a conventional Satellite receiver. Everyone wants some visual entertainment
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