[opendtv] Re: Barriers eroding to LCD TV adoption

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 10:46:13 -0400

At 3:19 PM +0100 7/2/04, John Willkie wrote:
>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.

This kind of comparative pricing does little to change the reality 
that one can buy 27-32" sets for less than $500 today. We bought a 
top of the line Mitsubishi 26" direct view set in 1987 for about 
$800. It was a good investment.

>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.

And your point is? My son has 27" set I bought at a garage sale for 
$5. To use it I had to buy a new universal remote for about $10.

Yes products can be too cheap. Many people will spend a bit more at 
WalMart or Sam's Club for a better model. Bottom line, however, the 
reality is that the average price of a new TV is still hovering 
around $300.

>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).

The SUV craze has largely been driven by safety issues, with a 
generous dose of "following the crowd." There is no parallel here 
with TV sets.

>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.

TV sets have been getting bigger ever since the first one was offered 
for sale. You can go back and check the sweet spots yourself. 17" was 
the sweet spot for many years with 21" inch sets being about as big 
as you could get until the late '70s. The average moved up to 21" and 
then 25" and now 27." No doubt the average will keep getting bigger, 
especially now that the CE manufacturers are pouring so much effort 
into the big screen markets, since this is where they make most of 
thier profits.

>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.

Any set that anyone buys today will work just fine in the future. 
It's just a matter of price versus performance. The issue of how the 
set is fed is now largely decoupled, and built in tuners are more a 
matter of convenience than necessity. people know that they will be 
able to use a Settop box to feed their old sets in the future. If 
they don't know this, it probably doesn't matter.

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