Recent Australian news reported that, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has asked the Top 5 leading audiovisual manufacturers (Sony, LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sharp) not to use the word “Wifi Ready” and “Wireless LAN Ready” when promoting their TVs. Instead, they will be accompanied by prominent statements such as ‘USB Wireless LAN adaptor required’, ‘WiFi Capable with Optional Adaptor’ or ‘Wireless LAN Adaptor required, sold separately’.
So, what is “Wifi Ready” ? Back in good olden days, a product used to do exactly what is was advertised for. A read-write DVD player could read and write DVDs, no new hardware purchase was required. As Big Corporations felt the heat of competition and looked around for ways of smart marketing, the word “Ready” started cropping up in the advertisements. What this exactly means is, the device has a slot, and it can provide the required functionality once the middleman is purchased separately – which is usually costly adapter, dongle or proprietary hardware equipment. End consumers tend to buy the devices which are “ready” instead of “built in” because it usually costs cheaper.
However, when an unhappy Australian customer complained to ACCC because his TV gave him the message “Wireless USB device not found. Insert a compatible wireless device into the TV’s USB port and try again” when he tried to switch on, ACCC did their own research and sided with the consumers. In our opinion, this is a very bold and necessary move.
Although the “ready” tag will bring in sales for TV Companies, consumers will be left with no choice and will complain because the money they saved by comparing with built-in Wifi is spent on buying the adapters. Customer’s trust is a rare commodity, and it’s for the Companies’s benefits that they advertise exactly what the consumers will be getting.
We, at TheTechPanda also think that this is not the first marketing gimmick forced on the consumers. We’re used to seeing “HD ready” ,”Cable-ready”, “Digital-ready”, “HDTV-ready”, “Wifi-Ready” since some time now. So,why single out Wifi-ready? Better late than never, it would be a welcome move to replace all the “ready” with “Separate product required to make the feature work, sold separately”.
Also, rest of the world can take a leaf out of this, and think on making the consumer’s experiences better. Let us know what you think.