Last week my home theatre audio receiver died. Over the weekend I began researching a replacement unit. (I'm not sure if the deep research of a future purchase is a male or a librarian trait). Since the dead unit was 10 years old, I had much to learn.
In the "old" days I either subscribed to different magazines or ran down to the public library to perform my research. Mail order companies like Crutchfield now have very helpful web sites that provide access to much more than a list of the technical specifics (watts per channel, sound processing standards supported, type of inputs) of various model available on the receiver group page. I was presented with a host of research options.
The site allowed me to compare any receiver models, read reviews, or narrow my search by a host of options such as those with HDMI switching. I was able to view photos of the fronts and backs of the boxes or take advantage of a context sensitive Hands On Research, which provides descriptions of all the features in that product category (including why I might need HDMI switching) . There is also a Home System Planning Center as well as an DIY Installation Center.
This exercise got me thinking about a Lorcan Dempsey posting about Bjørn Olstad's presentation at Ticer entitled the Advances in Search Driving Library 2.0. ( link to pdf download) This is the same Ticer program which Michael Stephens and Jenny Levine also presented.
As Lorcan points out, Olstad discusses a move from content management to consumption management. The example used is the disruptive change that Yellow Pages are experiencing - a move from a provider view with few details and a shallow understanding to a enriched consumer view with recommendations, maps, comparisons.
This was exactly my experience in research home theatre receivers. I was no longer limited view of audio receivers containing a few details and a shallow understanding of the products. I was presented an enriched product view with recommendations, comparisons, and how to guides -- all linked from, and relative to, any single product. I found out all I needed to know to make a decision from this one site.
Unfortunately for Crutchfield, they did not have the best price.
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