[opendtv] Re: Barriers eroding to LCD TV adoption

  • From: Eory Frank-p22212 <Frank.Eory@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "'opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx'" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 16:47:06 -0700

>From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx> 
>To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
>Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 13:09:03 -0400 

>Craig Birkmaier wrote:

>> I have been saying for several years that the price delta will be at
>> least $300 for years to come.

>Then how come Mark writes:

>" - It might be worth noting that ATI's new HDTV Wonder
>card, approximating the circuitry needed to add DTT reception
>to a TV, retails for $199:

>Clearly, if the separate PC card can be sold for under $200, a
>built-in front end, without PCI backplane, should go for much

Your argument is logical, but the reality is that the DTV tuner premium on most 
integrated sets is much more than $200 today.

>Also, if STBs came in at under $300 last Christmas, and a few
>were as low as $200 at Circuit City (could be old remnants, but
>still), it just makes no sense to keep insisting on $300 as
>premium when the front end is built-in. Pure nonsense, yes?

Mark Schubin's latest Monday Memo listed an ad for an ATSC STB that was 
$479.99. As Mark noted, "Prices have not fallen significantly recently."

>Also, I pointed out a two-chip front end that lists for $80
>not long ago. Even adding in royalties and markup, even this
>year, it's hard to justify any $300. Let alone "for years to

And I'd like to point out a product my company made more than 4 years ago that 
was a complete ATSC hardware & software solution, neatly packaged up in what 
amounted to an overgrown tuner "tin can" for easy integration into existing 
NTSC TV motherboards -- essentially an ATSC set-top box without the box. It was 
offered to the TV mfrs for less than $100 at that time. Had it actually gone to 
market in low-end DTV sets, what do you suppose the retail price adder would 
have been on those TVs? My guess is at least $300 and probably closer to $400.

>> Others were saying
>> that the added cost delta would soon be $50...

>"Others" would be Motorola. By 2007. Sounds pretty credible to
>me. I've been guesstimating less than that, by 1/1/2007.
>Assuming the FCC doesn't levy some new requirements, of course.

Yes, Motorola in its FCC Comments on the matter weighed in at $50 by the end of 
2006 -- subject to the caveat of large volume. From my numbers above, you can 
infer an assumption that what we had for $100 in 2000 should cost less than $20 
(to the TV mfr) by the end of 2006, to get to a retail price adder of only $50.

I believe it is technically possible for the silicon to get that cheap that 
quickly (excluding royalties), but I am not optimistic that it will happen -- 
because I am not optimistic that those volumes will happen. And as Craig likes 
to point out, the royalty issue is still a big can of worms.

For many people -- myself included -- it doesn't really matter whether the DTV 
tuner premium is $50, $100, $300 or whatever. It's something I don't want and 
will never use, so I'm not willing to pay extra for it. That was part of my 
motivation for buying an HD monitor now (a few days ago) rather than later. I 
have no doubt that large size HD monitors will continue to be offered for years 
to come, but as the mandate kicks in and TV mfrs do their best to meet it, the 
variety of monitor offerings may become more limited. I don't want to wait 
until next year to find out that the HD monitor I've been considering has been 
discontinued and replaced with a more expensive integrated HDTV set. So now I'm 
an HDTV digital cable subscriber, and enjoying every glorious high-def minute 
of it!

-- Frank Eory

P.S. -- Some of you will recall that back in late 1999 or early 2000 I reported 
flawless DTV reception at my house with an old Panasonic TU-DST50 (Sinclair's 
"favorite") and a set-top antenna. I'd say it's a given that I would have no 
reception issues whatsoever with a more modern 8-VSB receiver and whatever junk 
indoor antenna I care to use. But it's the CONTENT that matters. Much of that 
desirable content is pay TV and is simply not broadcast over the air. Another 
category of that desirable content is local broadcast HDTV, and that's not 
available on satellite. So it seems that for now, digital cable is the only way 
I can have it all. So I willingly give Cox an extra $10/month for the HDTV STB 
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