How Not To Demo

So the “Odd News” story that’s been posted and retweeted over and over this week is about the regrettable incident in a Greenville, SC Best Buy where a pornographic image was inadvertently displayed on their display of 55-inch Smart TVs.

There are a few takeaways here, for both consumers and AV pros.

If you’re a consumer looking for someone to install a system for you, you probably want to hire a team who’s competent enough to lock down their own networks.

On that same note, if you’re a consumer, you probably also want to hire a team who’s product knowledge extends beyond parroting specification, and can actually hypothesize usage scenarios, including “Worst Case” and develop strategies to counter them.

Obviously, if you’re an AV pro, you’re not just going to unbox a TV and put it out in your showroom: you’re going to calibrate it, and go through all the menu settings top to bottom to set the TV up to your exacting standards. Setting use controls and (so obvious it pains me to mention it) passwording your network is all part of the job.

As well, if you’re an AV pro, you want to cultivate the maturity in your staff that they won’t use the equipment in your inappropriately. For the record, I’m not asserting that Best Buy staff WERE responsible, only that it’s a definite possibility. Certainly, in times past I’ve witnessed (and I admit, occasionally been party to) similarly childish behavior from retail staff.

On a related tangent, I’d like to point out that customers aren’t the only ones who get their sensibilities offended.

Back in the days when camcorders were a significant purchase, it was common for clients to bring in their 8mm and Hi8 cameras to you for after-sale tutorials on the fine points making the most of their fancy new camcorder. I never begrudged clients the time, because for one thing, they’d already spend two to five thousand dollars on a fully accessorized camcorder purchase, and for another, those tutorials inevitably got parlayed into repeat sales, from something as simple as a box of videotapes all the way up to analog video editing decks (do you remember selling those?), not to mention future TV and stereo purchases.

Long story short, with predictable frequency, when clients came back to see me with their new camcorder, it would still have a videotape in it, and if I unthinkingly hit “Play” I was reminded of the one thing that many people do as soon as they get a brand new video camera and take it home.


Eventually I knew better, and would ask clients, “Should I pop this out and use a blank cassette for this tutorial?”

A funny look would cross their face, and they’d say “Oh. OH! Yeah. Okay. That’s a good idea.”