Retail warehouse chain Sam's Club announced Tuesday that it will
install Wi-Fi Internet access in its over 500 member clubs by November and will
use the new broadband capability primarily to demonstrate connected TVs that
offer access to streaming content like Vudu's on-demand movie service, Pandora
Internet radio or Facebook's social networking application. The new Wi-Fi
access points will also allow shoppers with broadband-capable smartphones to
research products---and competitors' prices-while in the store.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based company, a division of Wal-Mart, made the
announcement to over 2,200 Sam's Club associates gathered at the Orlando Convention Center
in Orlando, Fla. for the company's "Annual Holiday
Meeting," where it showcases holiday merchandise and details plans for the
Sam's Club says it will also upgrade its in-store displays to 1080p
HDTV resolution, and showcase 3D TVs in all locations by September.
The Sam's Club announcement is another sign of the growing popularity
of connected TVs and other IP-cable devices such as Blu-ray players, gaming
consoles and Roku set-tops that allow consumers to easily watch streaming
content on their living TVs. It came on the same day that premium cable programmer
Epix announced a deal with Netflix's subscription streaming service that will
allow Netflix to show Epix movies only three months after they appear on pay-TV
"Our members are early adopters of technology and electronics, and
we're excited to deliver an improved experience in our clubs," said Sam's Club
president and CEO Brian Cornell in a statement. "This investment in
connectivity allows us to showcase the high quality brands we offer in a new
engaging way, provide an enhanced level of service and brings to life our
promise to our members of ‘Savings Made Simple'."
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