Convergence will take another step from grand concept to retail reality when Convergence Store sets up shop on the Internet this summer.
Created by ChannelSEEK, a portal for audio and video webcasts, the start-up virtual merchant will carry cable and DSL modems, convergence-ready computers, DTV/XGA monitors, speakers, home entertainment systems, wireless convergence systems and, eventually, set-top boxes after it opens for business this July.
According to Andrew Christensen, who handles enterprise development for Indianapolis, Ind.-based ChannelSEEK, the portal will provide a built-in audience of broadband service users that is knowledgeable about technically advanced convergence products. "A lot of electronics stores don't have this kind of equipment yet, and this is a way of bringing it directly to this audience," he said.
Although a prototype site first previewed at the recent NAB convention can be found at store.channelseek.com, the official mid-July launch of ConvergenceStore.com awaits certification of its suppliers' cable modems for consumer use. Those vendors include Motorola and Panasonic, while the cyber store is also holding supply discussions with Thomson and NetTV, Christensen said.
The e-tailer will purchase most of its wares directly from manufacturers, although a distributor has been retained to provide smaller electronic items, Christensen noted. Most merchandise will be drop-shipped directly from vendors, but Convergence Store may also maintain some inventory of its own in order to "have some supply on hand."