Best Buy Can't Bear Standard-Def

If you've said it once, you've said it a thousand times: An HDTV without an HD signal is like sugarless cake, non-alcoholic beer, or a Lamborghini running 87-octane gasoline. It works, but it isn't right, and its definitely no fun.

All the preaching you do to HDTV neophytes hasn't stopped the fact that many HDTV buyers simply forgo signing up for high-definition cable or satellite plans. They see their big flat-screen at home and think, "Doesn't this look great?"

Best Buy is attempting to put a stop to this ill-informed nonsense by offering its buyers of HDTVs subsidies on DirecTV HD plans.

The deal: People who spend under $999 on a TV get six months worth of $30 credits, while people who spend more than $999 get $30 off their DirecTV bills for a year. Even people who walk into Best Buy just to sign up for DirecTV without buying a TV get three months of $30 credits. The promotion ends June 24.

Why is Best Buy acting so gosh darn generous? "By offering to help pay a customer's DirecTV bill we're making a dramatic statement about the importance of connecting a television to the right source for HD programming," said Best Buy's vice president of home entertainment merchandising services Chris Homeister.

That's one explanation. But it also helps that the new promotion replaces a former DirecTV deal that may not have been working out in Best Buy's favor. Used to be, if you bought an HDTV at Best Buy, the retailer would offer $300 off the price of the TV for signing up with DirecTV. That was a pretty good deal, especially for the people who simply canceled their DirecTV service soon thereafter. -Rachel Rosmarin

Business Week