On Black Friday I bought a Blu-ray player along with millions of other shoppers. But I wasn’t in the market for a Blu-ray player. Nothing wrong with the technology and I love to watch movies in HD, it’s just that I don’t watch a lot of movies on optical disc anymore now that Netflix is streaming movies and TV shows on demand. So I was really in the market for a Netflix streaming box for a second TV that doesn’t have an Xbox 360 connected to it. And my budget was about $100.
So on Thanksgiving I reviewed the sales fliers to confirm the deals already leaked weeks ahead of time on several dedicated Black Friday websites. One such deal was a $99 store brand Blu-ray player at Best Buy which claimed in the ad to be capable of streaming Netflix with a firmware upgrade. So I showed up at my local Best Buy and waited in line about a half hour before they opened at 5 a.m. and, sure enough, the box claimed this inexpensive player would stream Netflix.
So I bought the Insignia NS-BRDVD3 Blu-ray player to replace my non up-converting DVD player. This model has only an Ethernet jack so a quick router lash-up was needed to get the player online. Once this was in place, I simply followed the menus and about 2 minutes later was linking my Netflix account to the player, a very simple process. After loading up the Netflix interface I was pleasantly surprised to see not only the Instant Queue but also the genre views exactly like the Xbox 360 version. Since our Xbox is plugged in via Ethernet and not wifi, I was somewhat concerned of buffering over a wifi connection (mixed B & G). But the player works fine with little or no glitches and the quality is really fantastic in both SD and HD modes.
I’m sure the product manager at Best Buy had the Netflix feature as one of the “added-value” items on the checklist for this player but this feaure alone was the entire reason I bought the device. I was looking for a Netflix streamer for about $100 and selected this over the dedicated Roku box because it up-converted standard DVD’s and plays Blu-ray discs. The ability to play Blu-ray became the “value-add” for me in this case. Because I bought it, I’m now a potential customer for Blu-ray discs but more likely one for other streaming services. For instance, I fully expect a future firmware release to support Best Buy’s Napster music streaming service which I would subscribe to immediately. They could also add other services and continue to increase the value of this purchase over time. Or enthusiasts could create alternative firmware, similar to what has been done around Linksys routers, to further enhance this device.
Sometimes it’s not the intended purpose of the device that creates the value proposition for the buyer but how a device can be used in new and interesting ways. I think Best Buy gets this at some level or at least will be producing platforms that can be enhanced over time to create increased value. This will keep me a happy customer and is more compelling to me than any loyalty program.