Is Pioneer Coming out with a new HDD/DVD Recorder in Canada? - AVS Forum
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DVD Recorders (Standard Def) > Is Pioneer Coming out with a new HDD/DVD Recorder in Canada?
pokee99's Avatar pokee99 11:01 PM 08-04-2009
My Pioneer 640 HDD/DVD Recorder is neary 3 years old and I use it so much, I am getting concerned it's going to die on me one of these days. Out of curiosity, I looked on the Future Shop, Best Buy and Costco websites to see what's out there right now, and I could only find ONE HDD/DVD model - the Sony RDRHX780 for $399. CAD. It's reviewed well, but I've read some bad stuff about Sony models on this forum (mostly regarding copy protection and video issues). There's a Pioneer 460 on Ebay from a Quebec seller that looks pretty close to what I have now and would be around the same price with shipping.

I don't need it right now, but I am very nervous that these machines are falling into a black hole and I will have a hard time finding one like the one I have now when I need it. Having a spare seems like overkill, but I am curious to know what the alternative is. Does anyone know if Pioneer is coming out with any more HDD/DVD recorders in Canada or are they being phased-out like they were in 2007 in the USA?

Thanks!

CitiBear's Avatar CitiBear 12:09 AM 08-05-2009
Being new here, you missed the discussions a few months ago regarding this. Pioneer essentially went bankrupt back in April, and has exited the DVD recorder business. So your answer is no, no new Pios coming for Canada (or anywhere else). Prices for recent used, "open box" and "sealed box" Pioneers have nearly doubled since spring, and supplies are drying up fast. As a long-time Pioneer user, I recommend you opt for the 460 model sold by dealers in Quebec: this was the last machine released by Pioneer and its very very good. Its almost identical to and operates just like your 640, but adds Firewire/DV port along with USB, is easier to use with JPEG still images and MP3, includes a nicer remote, and most importantly has an upgraded 12-bit video encoder.

The Canadian Sony 780 is not as good, especially not for the same money. Beginning with the 640, Pioneer and Sony worked together on shared recorder designs and production. But the Sonys were the lower-end versions: they lack DVD-RAM capability, they use the older 640 internals (older 10-bit encoder, etc.) and their HDMI is often dysfunctional. When they were introduced a year ago, the 460 sold for $429 and the 780 for $299. After six months prices for the 460/560 dropped to $299 and the Sony went to $229. Then Pioneer tanked, and whoever has leftover stock is asking (and getting) much higher prices for the unlovable Sony. $399 is ridiculous for the 780, get a Pioneer 460 instead if you can still find one.

While a durable and rugged recorder, reports are increasing of burner wear on the now three year old 640 machines (usually manifesting as inability to burn store bought media, forcing you to use specialty 8x media from online dealers). The burners cost more to replace out-of-warranty than buying an entire new Pioneer: a backup machine is a wise investment. The market has changed quite a bit since a few months ago, when Pioneer 460s were going for $239 "open box new" and Sony couldn't give away the 780. Those bargain days seem over, so if you're looking at $399 anyway you should also consider the Panasonic multi-region EH58 DVD/HDD recorder, available new from USA and Canadian import dealers. The EH58 is similar to the Pioneer 460 but has no NTSC tuner (you need cable or satellite service, or an American ATSC box if you live within reception range).
Tulpa's Avatar Tulpa 08:10 AM 08-05-2009
Falling into a black hole? I think the general consensus is that they fell already.

The Pioneer, Panasonic from WI, and a questionable Magnavox. Are there any others? Pickings are slimmer than Kate Moss.
doswonk1's Avatar doswonk1 05:28 PM 08-05-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by pokee99 View Post

Having a spare seems like overkill, but...

So what is it when you have, um, three* spare Pios stashed in the closet?

_______
* Purchased from Canada when prices were low.
Tulpa's Avatar Tulpa 06:12 PM 08-05-2009
Smart thinking if you're into archiving to DVD.
joekoler's Avatar joekoler 01:52 PM 08-06-2009
Just bought a pioneer 460 for $339 from Canada on E-bay today. It was about one hundred less than that a month ago. I have a Pio 450 I bought a year and half ago that gets heavy use so I wanted a back up before they are not available or too high priced. I should have done it last month! If you really want one I wouldn't wait too long.
pokee99's Avatar pokee99 03:53 PM 08-06-2009
Ha ha - I just bought mine from the Canadian seller on Ebay last night! Just shipped out this morning!

CitiBear - thanks for all of your very detailed information on the 460 - it totally helped me make my decision to buy it now. My 640 makes grinding noises occasionally when I burn my DVDs, so I am guessing it's getting close to having problems very soon.

I don't think I could live without the ability to archive sports, kids shows and my old VHS on DVD, so I just find it so shocking that this type of technology has been phased-out. I guess it just wasn't profitable enough.

I make DVDs from TV for all my friends and family and they are so curious how I've done it! They think I am connecting my PC to my TV/Cable box! They have no idea!!! It's no wonder DVD/HDDs have gone by the wayside...no one really has them!

Can't wait to get my new one! Thanks again for all of your replies!
pokee99's Avatar pokee99 03:56 PM 08-06-2009
Doswonk1 - you have THREE Pios in your closet? Hahahahaha! That's like having a rare mint coin collection!
Tulpa's Avatar Tulpa 04:20 PM 08-06-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by pokee99 View Post

I don't think I could live without the ability to archive sports, kids shows and my old VHS on DVD, so I just find it so shocking that this type of technology has been phased-out. I guess it just wasn't profitable enough.

I make DVDs from TV for all my friends and family and they are so curious how I've done it! They think I am connecting my PC to my TV/Cable box! They have no idea!!! It's no wonder DVD/HDDs have gone by the wayside...no one really has them!

Yeah, that's pretty much it. DVD burning turned out to be a niche market, and none of the manufacturers felt it profitable to make them anymore after trying it for about a decade.

Most people wanted either DVD players or DVR type devices like TiVos. Those two things just killed the recorder market.
doswonk1's Avatar doswonk1 06:02 PM 08-06-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by pokee99 View Post

Doswonk1 - you have THREE Pios in your closet? Hahahahaha! That's like having a rare mint coin collection!

All 3 purchased on the 'Bay from Canada when prices were low. So far they're a better investment than my 401(k).

Interesting.....a lot of folks here are like me: I know I could use a PC to do what I do with the DVDR, but I'd rather stick with a dedicated piece of equipment designed for a single job. Maybe this goes back to the lesson I learned from my first audio "system"--an all-in-one "hi-fi" from Montgomery Wards that didn't do anything well!
Dartman's Avatar Dartman 08:24 PM 08-06-2009
I do both now, I use my PC to capture HDTV and my Philips 3575 to capture shows that I don't care about being HD or I don't get in HD. I've got a pretty solid combo of programs now that can edit and burn quickly to AVCHD disks that play fine on most Blu Ray players and the rest I edit and burn on the philips when I get enough saved up and feel like running some disks off.
CitiBear's Avatar CitiBear 10:10 PM 08-06-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by pokee99 View Post

My 640 makes grinding noises occasionally when I burn my DVDs, so I am guessing it's getting close to having problems very soon.

Yup, thats the typical "burner wearing out" symptom. Fortunately there are a couple ways to work around it and keep your 640 going for quite awhile yet. What has happened is the the disc clamp inside the burner has accumulated enough fingerprint oil and dust that it can't grip the disc securely at the velocity changes and braking required by 16x media. As a temporary fix, you can slightly moisten the tip of your finger with the tip of your tongue, then run that fingertip around the underside of the clear center hub of a blank disc. When you load that disc, the trace of moisture will allow the dusty clamp to get a better grip and cut down somewhat on the grinding noises. Believe it or not, this trick works about 75% of the time (thank memeber jjeff for coming up with that idea: he has a Panasonic but the trick works with Pioneers as well).

Long term, you need to order a supply of Taiyo Yuden 8x Premium Silver DVD-R media from an online dealer like rima.com or supermedia.com. These discs cost about $35/100 including delivery. Aging DVD recorders find these slower 8x discs much easier to spin and burn, all grinding noises cease and you stop getting coasters. My own 640 started with the grinding failure last summer, since I began feeding it only the 8x media it has been working perfectly. (I've noticed, however, the media needs to have a silver shiny finish or a clear center area: when I tried 8x media with a white printable surface, the recorder started grinding again.)
jjeff's Avatar jjeff 06:17 AM 08-07-2009
Citibear, another things that helps on Panasonics (with HDDs) is to run in the silent mode. I'm not sure if Pioneers have such a setting? but enabling the silent mode option during HS dubbing from HDD to DVD slows the data transfer rate and thus potential for disc slippage. Enabling the silent mode option makes a entire disc transfer normally about 20 minutes take 30 minutes. I basically always burn in silent mode but note silent mode is not available with RW or RAM discs since they're already restricted in speed transfer by their formulation.
DigaDo's Avatar DigaDo 08:30 AM 08-07-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Yup, thats the typical "burner wearing out" symptom. Fortunately there are a couple ways to work around it . . . As a temporary fix, you can slightly moisten the tip of your finger with the tip of your tongue, then run that fingertip around the underside of the clear center hub of a blank disc. When you load that disc, the trace of moisture will allow the dusty clamp to get a better grip and cut down somewhat on the grinding noises. Believe it or not, this trick works about 75% of the time (thank memeber jjeff for coming up with that idea: he has a Panasonic but the trick works with Pioneers as well) . . .

I'm wondering if applying isopropyl alcohol to the clear underside of the disc center area, with several successive reapplications due to quick evaporation, will provide a good-enough hub cleaning. As you've mentioned before Pioneer DVD Drives do not lend themselves to opening for service as do Panasonic DVD Drives.
CitiBear's Avatar CitiBear 08:49 AM 08-07-2009
Unfortunately only Panasonics have a "silent mode": Pioneers always burn at the highest speed possible for the media loaded. 16x takes about 10 minutes to burn/finalize from HDD, 8x media about 12 minutes. I don't think its the burn speed that the recorder chokes on, its more the braking as it changes velocity during the burn or writes data to the table of contents: then you hear the disc slipping and the grinding and clanking noises as the recorder desperately tries to control it. Even though the 8x media spins only slightly slower, its apparently just enough slower that an aging Pioneer 640 can handle it just fine.

The alcohol trick might work: I'll have to try it and report back.
jjeff's Avatar jjeff 10:32 AM 08-07-2009
Actually I've found that after doing the spit method(on Pannys) for several discs it also cleans the spindle to a degree. At least after doing it I might not have to do it again for several months. Don't use this method shortly after eating something like peanut butter or jelly etc., you don't want to get anything sticky on the spindle. Iso might also work but I think it might not really stick to the spindle well enough and might also tend to evaporate too quickly to do any good. Wouldn't hurt to try though.
Citibear, I agree with your point about velocity change but if indeed the disc spins at twice the speed with 16x discs it's got to apply more breaking if it needs to slow down dramatically vs if it was spinning 1/2 the RPMs. Just speculating though.
I'm keeping my eye out for a used Pio w/hdd at my local second hand shops to actually use one myself, although while I occasionally see a second hand Panny I've never seen a Pio w/hdd locally. I just don't think they were as popular(if you can ever say DVDRs w/HDDs were popular) as Panasonic, that or they're snatched up before I see them.
doswonk1's Avatar doswonk1 04:34 PM 08-07-2009
Is "silent mode" available on all Panny HDD recorders, or is it just on late models? I can't recall seeing anything about it in the manual for my 'E85 (in which I use 8x media almost exclusively).
jjeff's Avatar jjeff 05:38 PM 08-07-2009
I know the '05 and '06 model years(with a HDD) had the silent mode, maybe 16x media wasn't as common pre '05 so they didn't have that feature. I know my first few spindles back in '05 were 8x, I think the 16x was around but more expensive.
The silent mode is offered every time you HS dub on '05 model year, on my '06 model year EH-55 silent mode is a menu option you change in the Functions Setup.

edit:it looks like your '04 E85H recommends 4x discs while my '05 EH-50 lists 8x and the EH-55 lists 16x media. Maybe with 4x they didn't find it necessary to limit the dub speed. Funny thing is my '05 EH-50 burns 16x media just fine, actually it's all I use with it
aydu's Avatar aydu 08:07 AM 08-09-2009
Friends don't let friends buy Pioneer DVD recorders.

My Pioneer DVD recorder was my last ever Pioneer purchase.

Based on their current financial condition, I am apparently not the only one.
Tulpa's Avatar Tulpa 10:17 AM 08-09-2009
If you want a harddrive equipped recorder, Pioneer is one of three choices left, though. And might be the best choice.

The other two are a relatively expensive Panasonic and a Magnavox with an annoying flaw in the timer/finalizing feature.
pokee99's Avatar pokee99 12:33 PM 08-09-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

Yup, thats the typical "burner wearing out" symptom. Fortunately there are a couple ways to work around it and keep your 640 going for quite awhile yet. What has happened is the the disc clamp inside the burner has accumulated enough fingerprint oil and dust that it can't grip the disc securely at the velocity changes and braking required by 16x media. As a temporary fix, you can slightly moisten the tip of your finger with the tip of your tongue, then run that fingertip around the underside of the clear center hub of a blank disc. When you load that disc, the trace of moisture will allow the dusty clamp to get a better grip and cut down somewhat on the grinding noises. Believe it or not, this trick works about 75% of the time (thank memeber jjeff for coming up with that idea: he has a Panasonic but the trick works with Pioneers as well).

Long term, you need to order a supply of Taiyo Yuden 8x Premium Silver DVD-R media from an online dealer like rima.com or supermedia.com. These discs cost about $35/100 including delivery. Aging DVD recorders find these slower 8x discs much easier to spin and burn, all grinding noises cease and you stop getting coasters. My own 640 started with the grinding failure last summer, since I began feeding it only the 8x media it has been working perfectly. (I've noticed, however, the media needs to have a silver shiny finish or a clear center area: when I tried 8x media with a white printable surface, the recorder started grinding again.)


Wow - this is really helpful information. Thanks so much!!! It's nice to know that the 640 won't have to be put in the garbage because of this problem.

I've only had 1 or 2 DVDs not burn properly in the past year, but I thought it was a problem with the DVD, not the burner. So...maybe it was the burner...

That's VERY clever thinking of the moistening the finger trick to get the discs to burn! I love workarounds like this. But...would you recommend that I start burning with the slower discs now? I still have about 50 16x discs to use up, but I'd hate to think that I'm doing the burner a disservice by continuing to burn at a higher speed?

Thanks again!
kjbawc's Avatar kjbawc 03:16 PM 08-09-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by aydu View Post

Friends don't let friends buy Pioneer DVD recorders.

Maybe you got a lemon, but I love my Pio 640, as do many other people here. If they were available, and I had the $, I'd buy another one in a minute!
jjeff's Avatar jjeff 03:23 PM 08-09-2009
Personally unless the disc starts to slip and thus causes the DVD drive to frantically react trying to regain control, I don't believe the 16x media is any harder on a drive than 8x, others may disagree though?
If it were me I'd use up your remaining 16x discs and then switch to higher quality 8x media as long as their readily and cheaply available online.
What I do with my Panasonics is to insert the 16x disc(all I currently have) and during the power calibration test (that is done anytime you insert a unfinalized disc) I closely listen to the drive(room must be silent). If I hear any grinding or abnormally loud noises coming from the drive I immediately eject the disc. Note on older ES series Panasonics you can eject a disc at any time, with the newer idiotic EZ series you cannot and you must wait until the machine lets you(which at times may result is a coaster). I'm not sure how Pioneers act but I'd guess they're more like the ES series Pannys than the newer EZ series.
Anyway after the disc is out I then moisten the bottom center most clear part of the disc and immediately re-insert the disc. For me anyway 100% of the time this quiets the drive and allows you to use the disc trouble free. If the disc is ejected you may need to re-moisten the spindle when you reinsert the disc(until the disc has been finalized) after finalization I've not had any problems with disc slippage since I don't think the drive needs to make the sudden speed changes that are required during burning. If your spindle is terribly dirty I suppose it's possible it may not even read finalized discs but I haven't let mine get that dirty.
ti-triodes's Avatar ti-triodes 06:17 PM 08-09-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbawc View Post

Maybe you got a lemon, but I love my Pio 640, as do many other people here. If they were available, and I had the $, I'd buy another one in a minute!


It's too bad he had a bad experience with his Pio. I was a *major* Panny snob for a long time until I picked up a cheap 460 on eBay. It's easily the best HDD recorder I own. It does everything I want without many of the strange quirks that plague the Panny's.

In fact , I love the 460 so much I picked up 2 spares!
CitiBear's Avatar CitiBear 08:46 PM 08-09-2009
I'd recommend finishing your remaining supply of 16x discs and then switching to 8x. The 16x doesn't harm the burner but its more difficult for aging recorders to control their spin securely. Unfortunately Pioneers operate more akin to the Panasonic EZ series than the ES when it comes to rejecting 16x media they can't manage: a Pioneer will tediously insist on making four to six attempts to initialize the disc before it gives up and allows you to eject it. This can take up to five or six minutes, and listening to the machine grind away in vain causes much anxiety when you can do nothing to stop it. When the Pio finally does let you eject the failed 16x disc, its usually been rendered unusable. That alone is reason enough to go with the 100% reliable 8x media alternatives.

Pioneer did not go bankrupt because of its DVD/HDD recorders: they were and are very popular and good sellers around the world. What killed Pioneer was the one-two punch of the world economy tanking at about the same time women gained the upper hand in shopping for the familys large-screen televisions. Women have single-handedly destroyed the plasma TV market, because God forbid they should have a "horrible six inch thick display stuck on the wall". Once three inch thick LCD panels came down in price, plasmas became forbidden in all households. Before I'm accused of being sexist, this is the literal truth of consumer purchase patterns as studied by retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City, as well as mfrs themselves. Without volume sales of lower-end plasma displays to subsidize parts costs, production of Pioneers once-profitable Kuro displays went heavily into the red, then sales dropped to zero when the economy went south. Not being as diversified as Panasonic, Sony or Sharp, Pioneer could not save itself so it died.

All DVD/HDD recorders are complex beasts and the most technically-advanced pieces of A/V gear ever offered to consumers. As such, each mfr has had a lemon or two, or has an inherent flaw, and several gave up altogether in favor of hiring sub-contractors to OEM their current machines. In the brief history of these recorders, only two brands have managed to avoid major engineering problems or faults most of the time: Pioneer and Panasonic.

Pioneers expertise in optical disc machinery dates back to the laserdisc days, and they were among the first to market with DVD-R burners and media: so Pioneer was hardly a fly-by-night recorder source. The only bad machines released by Pioneer were the truly awful 2005 USA models 531-533-633, with their hopelessly dysfunctional and unrepairable TVGOS/HDD "synergy". Even these models are still in use by many AVS members: as long as they remain operational, they're good recorders, the problem was their hare-brained implementation of an immature TVGOS timer feature.

Panasonics have been equally solid and reliable, and wisely avoided the TVGOS trap Pioneer fell into (the Pannies used a completely separate electronic subsystem for the TVGOS which is not dependent on or damaging to the HDD). Good as they are, though, Panasonics have an extremely irritating tendency toward gumming up the disc clamps in their burners: they are excessively sensitive to finger oils and dust being transferred from the DVD surface onto the burner mechanism. This necessitates regular disassembly & cleaning, which your average consumer has no idea about unless they stumble upon DigaDos excellent tutorials here on AVS. So depending on your point of view, Panasonics could be perceived as "terrible" because their burners can break down in as little as six months. If you are aware of the dirt issue and are willing to perform maintenance, that perception changes and Panasonics become an excellent long-term recorder choice.

Its purely an accident, however, that the Panasonic dust-sensitivity problem can be converted into an advantage by someone who knows how to disassemble/maintain their units. Since they became mainstream in 2003, ALL brands of DVD recorder have had a finite and relatively brief usable lifespan in their burners, with most averaging 30 months before serious wear becomes obvious. In Pioneers case, and that of every other brand except Panasonic, the burners are not easily serviced by the user (if service is possible at all). When the burner goes, you're faced with a repair cost equal to purchasing an entire new recorder. DVD recorders are therefore disposable- period. They will not last your entire adult lifetime, the way carefully-used VCRs once did.

This applies even more to the vintage Toshiba, JVC and Sony DVD recorders which have more grief-stricken owners crying in the wilderness than Pioneer and Panasonic combined. There is no "perfect DVD recorder": every last one will bite a chunk out of your ass when you least expect it. Anyone who refutes this has been extremely, extraordinarily lucky with their recorder experience. A "brand X" recorder that runs five years without a hiccup is about as common as someone buying a new Pioneer thats defective out of the box: neither experience is typical.
Kelson's Avatar Kelson 10:03 PM 08-09-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by CitiBear View Post

What killed Pioneer was the one-two punch of the world economy tanking at about the same time women gained the upper hand in shopping for the familys large-screen televisions. Women have single-handedly destroyed the plasma TV market, because God forbid they should have a "horrible six inch thick display stuck on the wall". Once three inch thick LCD panels came down in price, plasmas became forbidden in all households. Before I'm accused of being sexist, this is the literal truth of consumer purchase patterns as studied by retailers like Best Buy and Circuit City, as well as mfrs themselves.

I have read more than a few bizarre statements in your posts, but this one really takes the cake. The company I work for is a large materials supplier to the PDP manufacturers and the electronics industry in general. I can tell you that the data from real market reports -- the kind companies pay really big money for, not stuff pulled off someones blog -- shows the plasma display market is alive and healthy and growing, otherwise we wouldn't be in it. Plasma plays in the 42" screen size and above. For all 1080p panels that are 42" and above, plasma vs. LCD is running about 45:55 and continuing to gain ground. It's all the zillions of little LCD screens for PCs etc. that make the LCD numbers seem so dominant.
wajo's Avatar wajo 08:45 AM 08-10-2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

I have read more than a few bizarre statements in your posts, but this one really takes the cake. The company I work for is a large materials supplier to the PDP manufacturers and the electronics industry in general. I can tell you that the data from real market reports -- the kind companies pay really big money for, not stuff pulled off someones blog -- shows the plasma display market is alive and healthy and growing, otherwise we wouldn't be in it. Plasma plays in the 42" screen size and above. For all 1080p panels that are 42" and above, plasma vs. LCD is running about 45:55 and continuing to gain ground. It's all the zillions of little LCD screens for PCs etc. that make the LCD numbers seem so dominant.

This PCWorld article has stats for 2008 that show a wide gap for same-size LCD vs Plasma plus another much wider gap if you include sizes smaller than 40". The stats part of the article says:

"Last year, according to DisplaySearch, North American consumers purchased about 10 million 40- and 50-inch LCD TVs versus about 3.8 million plasma sets of the same sizes. (You may have seen an even more imbalanced statistic--30 million LCDs versus 4 million plasmas--but those numbers don't reflect true head-to-head popularity: Most HDTVs sold have screen diagonals of less than 40 inches, which is the smallest size in which plasmas are available.)"

Another article says plasma sales are slipping in early 2009 as well.
Kelson's Avatar Kelson 08:56 AM 08-10-2009
The data we have and go by is for world-wide and is a combination of historical and projection. We are concerned with the production of plasma display panels (PDP), not TV's. Of course the global economic crash of 2009 is impacting everything and the smaller players (i.e.Vizio) will be chased out of the market. But the future is still projected to be sound once the global economy stabilizes.

I didn't see anything in that article about the housewives of America killing the plasma market, which was my point of contention.
wajo's Avatar wajo 09:24 AM 08-10-2009
This 2008 Japanese Electronics Assoc. article says:

"Currently the ratio of LCD to plasma (worldwide) has reached 6.5 to 1. By 2012, that ratio is expected to be around 6.2:1, projecting an actual gain in market share for plasma. There was no explanation for this reasoning, however we'd wager that we'll see a continued erosion of the plasma market over time.

The reported forecasts are based on expected demand from 51 nations, which JEITA says represents the majority of the developed world."
CitiBear's Avatar CitiBear 10:25 AM 08-10-2009
Kelson, your industry take is based on overall plasma display usage, which is somewhat different: if you include industrial and commercial applications then of course plasma as a generic product category is thriving and will continue to do so. Just not as a household television set. There were several producers of dedicated plasma panels for TVs a couple years ago, now we're down to pretty much just Panasonic.

Despite your misgivings about me, I promise you I do not just pull stuff out of my ass. I barely have time to participate on AVS: "blogs" are of no interest to me. I owned a video hardware/software/installation business for many years, and I'm still plugged into all manner of trade press- T.W.I.C.E., Video Business, and so on. These are my sources, and they have emphatically stated several times that "girlfriend/housewife" retail resistance to "ugly thick" plasma displays has been the number one factor killing off sales volume of plasma. North America leads the world in sales of humongous television sizes, we're the tail that wags the dog. If our women say "nyet" to plasma, thats the end of plasma. Europeans and Asians do not have room in their homes for very large sets, the more reasonable screen sizes they buy look OK with LCD, and the EU favors energy-efficiency which is higher with LCD. These two regional demand vectors are what doom the plasma TV market.

The idiot consumer press that misguidedly promotes LCD as being "better" also has a hand in this. I think its terrible: plasma is much more suitable than LCD for a wider range of input materials even at smaller sizes and at jumbo sizes plasma kills LCD dead in comparison viewing, but the consumer market wants what the consumer market wants. Just look at the vast preference for subscription recorders over DVD/HDD recorders: the mass market often cuts off their noses to spite their faces.

In Pioneers specific case, trade coverage and Pioneers own statements cite plasmas decline as the direct cause of the firms collapse. Pioneer bet the farm on $5000 Kuro plasma cinema displays, and they lost: after a strong start, even wealthy consumers suddenly switched in droves to LCD, and then wealthy consumers just disappeared altogether when the economy soured. Pioneer tried to stem the bleeding by having Panasonic OEM complete televisions for them, but it was too little too late. With a moribund audio hardware market and static DVD/HDD recorder sales, Pioneer had no other product line with good margins to fall back on: RIP, Pioneer.
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