To try and seduce people into buying its LX9500 3D TV, LG is currently running the “LG 3D lounge room and INFINIA Sports Bar” in the Qantas Club at Sydney Airport. As someone who wastes half his life in airports and the other half writing about technology, I had to go and check it out.
This was the official promotional blurb:
The Qantas lounge now offers members and exclusive guests of LG the chance to unwind and enjoy an immersive entertainment experience with LG’s Full LED 3D TV – the LX9500. Packed with market leading features such as Full LED backlit LCD display, imbedded access to BigPond® Movies on Demand and 3D TV technology – the LX9500 breaks all barriers, delivering the ultimate interactive and engaging experience – keeping you entertained whilst in transit.
Let’s clear up some terminology. Firstly, it’s “embedded”, not “imbedded”. Secondly, by “3D lounge room”, LG actually means “space right in the middle of the Qantas Club with a couple of glass walls and a few seating cubes in it”.
So what actually happens? The friendly promo assistants hand you some glasses, reel off the specs for the TV and invite you to witness a carefully-assembled 3D loop on the 55 inch LX9500 model. There’s also a TV displaying the normal 2D display, to prove that it’s not a useless waste of money for the 99% of the time you’re not watching 3D content. The 3D does look pretty impressive on-screen, and the $99-a-pop glasses don’t look as ridiculous as their cheapie cinema counterparts.
Not everything the promo girl told me was accurate. She claimed that the free-to-air networks were definitely planning to jointly launch a specialist 3D channel, even though no firm plans for anything of the kind have been announced. And the explanation of how the glasses got charged via USB was a little fuzzy.
The big advantage of this approach (compared to going to a store for a demo) is that there’s no in-depth sales pressure. The promo girls will tell you the costs and about the slightly dodgy bonus offer, but that’s as far as it goes. (On that offer: if I’ve paid $5000 for a TV, I don’t expect to pay for postage on the accompanying bonus gifts.)
But would all that make me buy one? The answer is a really firm “no”, though that’s largely because I can’t watch anything in 3D for more than about five seconds without feeling nauseous. (Giz Australia overlord Nick Broughall has a similar issue, FYI.)
That’s not LG’s fault, but it does underline one problem with its marketing approach here: potentially making yourself feel ill just before you get on a plane may not put you in a “spending money” frame of mind. If you want to check it for yourself (and you have Qantas Club access), it’s running until the end of July.