[opendtv] Re: Barriers eroding to LCD TV adoption

  • From: "John Willkie" <johnwillkie@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2004 15:19:48 +0100

About a dozen years ago, my father bought a 27" inch Sony set at the Marine
Corps Exchange for $1000, then a good price.  A friend of mine, more than 20
years in the TV business, said he couldn't imagine anyone "needing" a TV set
that large: 14 inches was large to my friend.

When you take that $1,000 and apply a dozen years of low inflation, it's
close to $2,000.  I say this to put the cost of these Wal-Mart sets into one
type of context.

Yes, Craig, cheaper sets are for sale.  Do you notice, however, that the $5
sets don't sell?  So, we have a "too cheap" price -- in a marketing context,
which I realize might challenge you a bit.  And, we know that sets above $2k
are a rather too expensive for common tastes.

Now, translate this to cars.  Heck, let's talk about cars in Northern
Mexico.  There, importing used cars from the U.S. of less than 10 years age
involves serious tax implications, and cars purchased in Mexico are still a
lot more expensive than the same car in the U.S., due to Value Added Tax,
and Mexico's idea of what a Mexican should drive.

Despite that, I've seen a whole heck of a lot of Mexican nationals driving
SUVs with Mexican plates (not visitors from the U.S.) in recent months,
joining the Mexicans from the U.S. coming back South in their freshly-minted
extremely large SUVs.  Also, gasoline has been more expensive in Mexico
(except for the last few months) for several years. The only Yugos I've seen
are used by junkies as shooting galleries.

Late last summer, we had a day where the heat was just unbearable -- more
than 95 degrees, with humidity quite high.  A very rare day.  I stood on the
major street corner near my apartment for 15 minutes and counted cars,
making tallies on a sheet in the time-honored traffic counting fashion. I
was interested in seeing how many cars had their windows rolled up -- a sure
indicator on such a day that the car had air conditioning.  A whole lot of
junkers went by, but fully 33% of the cars had their windows rolled up.
This, in a poor town where the minimum wage is $3.00 a day, and the average
weekly wage is a notch or two above $100.

You think that just talking about the technology makes you the master of
what's happening in digital TV.

As Dermot and I can agree on (is he still around?) it's TECHNOLOGY and
ECONOMICS.  The economics have changed drastically, to a higher market.  I
cars -- with the exception of the recent gas price spike, now abating -- the
trend has been to GIGANTIC cars for more than a decade, but with critical
mass in the last few years (my sister in law has had FOUR SUVs in the last
seven years).

That's ALSO been the trend in TV sets.  Can you find a 17" inch set (the
gold standard in 1970) at Circuit City or Best Buy or Tweeter or any place
other than Wal-Mart?  Even the small hole in the wall electronics retailers
like Pique & Ahorre (Pick & Save) in Tijuana, more than half the sets on
display are more than 25 inches.

Sure, those analog sets will sell for a few more months, but just about
everyone who buys one by rote will come to regret the purchase -- in the
U.S. -- within just three or four years, and they'll say "I could have
gotten a V-8, uh, a digital set, for 'only' a few dollars more.  Combine
that with the "disposal fee" for new electronics items that California is
now in the process of imposing and that other states may adopt, and you have
a complex eco-system.

John Willkie

P.S. Craig.  Your posts on this thread are seriously embedded in wishful and
LEGACY thinking.  Your need to actually talk to people outside of your
ecosystem about HDTV and DTV.  Everybody knows what it is, and people in San
Diego (not industry people) are looking around and "negotiating" with the
transition.  Everybody?  No, not yet, and very few people over age 55 or so.
But the lion's share of the people I talk to on the trolley are, and the
wealthiest San Diegans DO NOT RIDE the trolley, to say the least.

-----Original Message-----
From: opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Craig Birkmaier
Sent: Friday, July 02, 2004 1:45 PM
To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [opendtv] Re: Barriers eroding to LCD TV adoption

At 12:01 PM -0400 7/1/04, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
>TigerDirect.com lists SVA, Syntax, and Sceptre 30" widescreen LCD HD
>sets for $1650 to $1900. Keeping in mind that these ar

Sorry Bert, but even at these prices, these LCD panels are still 3-4
times the cost of a LARGER CRT (4;3 versus 16:9)

>With a 50 percent price reduction, no contest.

With a 50% price reduction they will still be twice as expensive.

Wishing that people will pay more than $299 for their next TV is not
going to change the market dynamics. When you can buy a 30" LCD panel
for $499, maybe we can have this discussion again.


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