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Pivotal moment - Sony, Panasonic etc. in for a shock...

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs' started by Boring Brian, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. Boring Brian

    Boring Brian
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    The recent plethora of LCD TVs and associated price-tumbling has got me thinking. I believe we are experiencing a sea-change in the consumer electronics segment the likes of which hasn't been seen before, and I think the traditional "A-brand" players are in for a big, big shock.

    You may remember that in the mid 90's The monopolies and mergers commission investigated the likes of Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Philips etc because they were refusing to supply products to the new US-style warehouse outlets (Costco etc). There was also much talk that high street dealers were incentivised not to discount their products under any circumstances. And until recently, anyone who took a stroll down Tottenham Court Road was left in no doubt that such activities still took place (alledgedly) - your average A-brand TV was exactly the same price in every shop you went in. This was fill-your-boots time for the manufacturers. Big fat profit margins and double gin and tonics all-round!

    But oh what a difference 12 months makes. The advent of LCD TVs has all of a sudden introduced a whole host of new competitors into the consumer electronics arena - namely, the computer manufacturers. These guys have been making high quality, low cost LCD monitors for many years now and with "convergence" the new big thing, the switch to TV manufacturing was both an obvious one, and a very easy one to implement.

    And the implications for the consumer are massive. Computer manufacturers operate with much, much lower profit margins than the consumer electronics boys. There's been much debate on here about the "inferior" quality of the new "low cost" LCD TVs on the market, but this simply isn't the case. If you compare the specs, the cheaper products are every bit as good as the more expensive "branded" products. Which shouldn't surprise anyone as they are all made in the same factories out in Taiwan. The only difference being the profit margin expectation of the CE and computer manufacturers.

    So what next? Well the traditional players are in for a shock. Whilst its only the likes of Viewsonic and Relisys making a noise in their market-place, they can probably still get away with relatively inflated prices, but when the big 3, namely Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer get their act together, the consumer will sit up and take notice. Remember, these guys are trusted brands in many households already, so when the stampede begins for HD-ready TVs there's every likelihood that Jo Bloggs consumer will vote with his wallet leaving Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi et al very ashen-faced.

    The next 12 months is going to be a whole lot of fun.
     
  2. Llanowar

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    In the usa those dell screens seem to be a lot more "introduced" to the market then here in europe. With plasma's at around the same price level at the moment i guess we'll see lcd's drop even more, especially with the shorter and shorter lifetimes of these new products.
     
  3. inventor

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    Interesting point, but I think it will take much longer than you suggest.

    HP, Dell, etc are well known, and respected, but are not (yet) considered 'glamourous'. A TV is a lifestyle item, and its a fact of life that we believe (rightly or wrongly) that having a Sony, Phillips, etc sitting prominently on our wall says a little about how far we've come in life. In the same vein, why do people buy Audis when they could pay several thousand pounds less for a VW which, underneath the skin, is basically the same car, certainly sharing many components?
     
  4. crazyswede

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    The strange thing is that the dell 26" LCD TVs in the UK are expensive £899...

    I would have thought they would be much cheaper... 26" prices start at £499 and you can get eg Phillips, LG, toshiba for £699...
     
  5. loz

    loz
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    Factor in also that the likes of Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda are also "trusted" brands for many UK customers and have massive buying power that is already impacting the traditional retailing channels of many products - clothes being a good example and the effect on M&S and other high street stores.

    As I understand it, dixons/currys and comet are also coming into the firing line as the supermarkets begin to ramp up sales of electronics goods.

    Expect to see more bargain LCDs like the sainsburys sonix 26" for £499, that for the vast majority of people may not be up there with the best quality wise, but will be "good enough", and of course much much cheaper. Not only cheaper than sony/panasonic/etc, but also cheaper than the goodmans/logix brands in currys/dixons
     
  6. loz

    loz
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    Because the vast majority of new cars are company cars, and hence "buyers" are not spending their own money but maximising their use of someone elses. And the lease rates of cars is greatly impacted by residual value making higher quality cars actually cheaper.

    Whereas people spending their own money on a new car are much more likely to buy Japanese than German because they will be looking for value for money. (I am sure I saw some stats somewhere that showed that models preferred by private new car buyers was quite different to the overal market figures because of the distortion of company cars)
     
  7. Flimber

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    Personally, I'd like to see a 'No Logo' bill brought in which would enable all product idents to be removed without marking the case. Then I could get a Mikomi/Viewsonic/Sonix/whatever and not feel 'inferior' to Big Name owners :)

    DVD players used to be an expensive luxury item and now they're in supermarkets for £20. Wouldn't surprise me if the big supermarkets started branding their own gear and bringing out LCD TVs at silly prices later this year.

    Anyone know of a graph showing the fall of LCD pricees over time ?

    Mike.
     
  8. chachi

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    Ummm ... you might be surprised at what the owners to shops ratio on Tottenham Ct Road is ... 4-5 of the shops on the east side are/were all owned by the one guy/family and openly move stock from shop to shop in full view of customers/passers-by
    Well I bought a 42PWD6 nine mos ago and price dropped about 50% since, as I just bought a 27" LCD, by chrimbo they will be under £300 :rolleyes:
     

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