Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S) and Rainbow DBS, Cablevision Systems Corporation's satellite service division, have reached an agreement which makes Sears the exclusive retailer of VOOM, the first television service to offer a comprehensive array of high definition (HD) programming, through January 2004.
VOOM offers far more HD programming than any other satellite or cable company and will be marketed expressly to those customers with high definition television (HDTV) sets seeking content. The service was introduced in New York on Oct. 15, and is currently in the midst of an initial preview period.
"Finally, customers will have a broad range of programming to view on their HDTVs," said Dan Laughlin, Sears senior vice president / general merchandise manager of appliances and electronics. "Until now, a lack of HD programming has been the single largest hurdle preventing the widespread adoption of HDTV sets by U.S. consumers."
Mickey Alpert, Chief Operating Officer of Rainbow DBS, stated, "We are staking claim in a new market as the first company to provide an HD-centric programming service and are thrilled to be partnering with Sears, a company that has experience as a national retail leader in HDTV sales, to help deliver VOOM - and an unparalleled HDTV experience - across America."
Sears, the third largest retailer of big screen TVs in the U.S., was the first national retailer to display HD programming on the sales floor. In 2003, Sears doubled the number of plasma and liquid crystal display (LCD) TV models it offers, now carrying 21 models from nine manufacturers. Only Sears sells the top six brands of big screen TVs and nine HDTV brands.
High definition TV provides five times the picture detail of conventional TV, with sharper images and brilliant color. A widescreen picture and Dolby digital surround sound are also elements of HDTV.
Achieving that lifelike look and sound requires a high definition broadcast. Many cable networks and local television stations broadcast selected programs. The balance of their programming is in less clear formats. VOOM customers will be able to access HD programming 24 hours a day through the 21 VOOM HD exclusives, which will include movies, music, sports, news, arts, animation and more.
At Sears, customers will be able to view VOOM programming as well as compare a high definition picture with a traditional analog signal.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a broadline retailer with significant service and credit businesses. In 2002, the company's annual revenue was $41.4 billion. The company offers its wide range of apparel, home and automotive products and services to families in the U.S. through Sears stores nationwide, including approximately 870 full-line stores. Sears also offers a variety of merchandise and services through its Web sites, sears.com and landsend.com and a variety of specialty catalogs.
SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.
CONTACT: Lauren Jiles-Johnson, +1-847-286-0123, or Larry Costello,
+1-847-286-9036, both of Sears, Roebuck and Co.
Web site: http://www.sears.com/