Pioneer 640 getting scarce - Page 11 - AVS Forum
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post #301 of 323 Old 06-07-2007, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post

I need to check out the thread AC refers to, but I think you are correct that there are likely multiple factors at work.

Sean wrote: "America has TIVO, but I can't see it making that big a difference given that it's just one of the competing units with the same sort of Cable and Satellite PVR boxes used in Canada."

Well, I think there is more than a little truth in several of these theories. The Cable / Sat PVR boxes are a path of least resistance. You rent them for a modest additional charge, instead of a big upfront purchase, and you don't have to be very proactive in terms of product research or scoping out the best deal. Your service compatibility is assured. You likely don't even have to know how to hook it up, as a service provider tech can do it for you. From what I'm hearing, the learning curve may be far less than with a Pioneer DVDR . . . even though it is much easier to learn and use than most of the more capable, competing DVDRs. (And probably the cheap and crappy Chinese units, too.) Never underestimate the percentage of techno-clueless consumers.

TIVO is going to occupy somewhat of a more grey, middle-ground. But a lot of the market does not seem to be that interested in archiving to DVD; timeshifting is quite sufficient for them, with far fewer variables to worry about.

There is also something to the "many U.S. consumers are cheap" angle. Walmart and Target reign supreme here. But this idea only goes so far. If you read those (previously linked) company balance sheet reports and the Pioneer press releases, you could legitimately conclude that higher-end DVDRs were a big disappointment for them in this market, and they made a business decision to pull the plug. And even cease further development on new models. But the newer Euro models and these new Canadian models seem to indicate that Pioneer has backpedaled on those decisions -- at least for certain markets.

I think AC may really be on to something, with his patents, industry pressure, and litigation fears speculation, and I'll probably have some comment for the other thread.

As a sort of bottom line, though, I do have a problem imagining that there is no sufficient market for these things stateside. I count at least three hardcopy publications devoted to high end video gear. (Not to mention all the online forums and websites.) A significant number of people seem to have at-least-moderately-fancy home theatre setups. If you are going to go that far, how can you not have a good DVDR with archive-to-disk capability ? Your HT installation would be very incomplete without it.

The fact that all the major manufacturers have not announced a 2007 HDD-based model in the USA points to not just market forces. It's rather unlikely that they all decided to get out of the market at the same time (unless it was 100% obvious that this sector had failed). But even in those cases, usually 1-2 companies decide to give it a try when everybody else leaves... So I think part of the reason(s) must be something more generilized (legal issues (TiVo lawsuits, DRM), technology shifting (digital tuner mandate, 2009 deadline, cable cards, high definition confusion) that affects all manufacturers.

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post #302 of 323 Old 06-08-2007, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post

As a sort of bottom line, though, I do have a problem imagining that there is no sufficient market for these things stateside. I count at least three hardcopy publications devoted to high end video gear. (Not to mention all the online forums and websites.) A significant number of people seem to have at-least-moderately-fancy home theatre setups. If you are going to go that far, how can you not have a good DVDR with archive-to-disk capability ? Your HT installation would be very incomplete without it.

I receive all my programming free-OTA for playback on a 32" Sony SD-TV that I am very happy with. So, I am very interested in the evolving state of DVDR's because that is my best option for recording and timeshifting SD video with 2.0 sound.

All I will say is that if I were even modestly invested in a home theater setup -- surround sound A/V receiver, widescreen HiDef TV -- and had either digital cable, FIOS or one of the sat services, it would not take a second thought before I rented the company's DVR as opposed to buying a DVDR. If I spent that kind of money it's because I want to watch hidef as hidef and hear 5.1 sound as 5.1. Why would I buy an expensive recording box that could do neither -- and on top of that could only receive a fraction of the channels I'm paying for because they're encrypted. Apparently a lot of other people in that position feel the same way and, as I am occasionally reminded here, that represents 85% of the viewing public.

I don't understand why people have such a hard time believing what the majors are telling them: there is not sufficient market in the US to sell what they want to sell in volumes to make it worth their while. Pioneer was losing money in the US and has pulled out. Panasonic is still very much in the market here. They have 4 models they are selling for resonable prices. But they know if they try to sell a HDD version for double the price (their usual premium) it is going to sit on the shelf. Phillips has now introduced a HDD-model that appears to be fully functional and only lacking a few desired features -- at a $300 price-point. How much of a premium do you think Panasonic can charge for their own HDD-unit.

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post #303 of 323 Old 06-08-2007, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

All I will say is that if I were even modestly invested in a home theater setup -- surround sound A/V receiver, widescreen HiDef TV -- and had either digital cable, FIOS or one of the sat services, it would not take a second thought before I rented the company's DVR as opposed to buying a DVDR. If I spent that kind of money it's because I want to watch hidef as hidef and hear 5.1 sound as 5.1. Why would I buy an expensive recording box that could do neither -- and on top of that could only receive a fraction of the channels I'm paying for because they're encrypted.

Well I have invested in the home theater setup with HDTV, DD7.1 A/V Receiver and satellite and I liked my Pioneer 640 so much I bought a 2nd one. My satellite is of course 100% digital so all channels are encrypted but I can record anything and everything with excellent quality via the L1 input. (Many OTA users seem to forget that when you have separate tuner it has outputs that provide an unencrypted signal.)

My satellite provider has been offering a HD PVR for years but unfortunately it still isn't ready for prime-time...literally. Even if it was I would still want the 640 for editing and archiving to disc, partly because I like to keep copies of great programming and partly because it's portable and helps to keep the HDD from filling up. With a DVDR I can record upstairs, edit out commercials, copy to DVD and then watch downstairs or elsewhere...couldn't do all that with 2 rented PVRs even if they have multiple tuners.

Sure, I look forward to the day when I can record/timeshift/save my HD content, but I sure wouldn't give up my SD HDD DVDRs after dealing with VCRs for years. The benefits of a HDD DVDR's have significantly improved our viewing experience, and freed up a considerable amount of time via chase-play and commercial skip/editing, not to mention the saved space for media and elimination of missed programs caused by tapes being "eaten" by the VCR.
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post #304 of 323 Old 06-08-2007, 08:16 AM
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I didn't say everybody, did I. Of course there are people who feel and buy like you. But what the majors have been saying is that there are just not enough of you -- in the US market -- to keep their coffers filled to their satisfaction.

- kelson h

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post #305 of 323 Old 06-08-2007, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

I don't understand why people have such a hard time believing what the majors are telling them: there is not sufficient market in the US to sell what they want to sell in volumes to make it worth their while.

That did seem plausible to me, but now that they've come out with Canadian models it seems pretty unlikely. Canada has 1/10th the population of the US, yet they still think they can make money selling to us. This tells me that mere market size isn't the real issue here.
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post #306 of 323 Old 06-08-2007, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Nelson View Post

That did seem plausible to me, but now that they've come out with Canadian models it seems pretty unlikely. Canada has 1/10th the population of the US, yet they still think they can make money selling to us. This tells me that mere market size isn't the real issue here.

Sean, as has been pointed out before, number of people does not equate with number of buyers of a particular product. Pioneer had stated they were getting out of the manufacturing & design of DVDRs and would be rebranding. This drew a lot of criticism in this forum 6+ months ago. So really, who knows what they are selling you in Canada.

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post #307 of 323 Old 06-08-2007, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Sean, as has been pointed out before, number of people does not equate with number of buyers of a particular product.

The Candian and US markets are far more similar than they are different. We get mostly the same TV stations, ads, movies, etc. We both purchase cable and satellite services from providers that use mostly the same equipment and show mostly the same content. I really find it hard to believe that the average American is more than 10X less likely to buy these devices than the average Canadian (which would make up for the 10X greater population).

Aside from the requirement for digital tuners, equipment designed for the Canadian market is identical to that which is sold in the US market. They've already spent the R&D money to develop the Canadian product, there's zero additional cost for Pioneer to sell the stuff to the US market. Why on earth wouldn't they do it? Every US sale would be gravy added to the bottom line.

Sorry, I just don't buy the idea that there aren't enough Americans for them to make a buck. The digital tuners and perhaps the DRM issues seem like a much more plausible reason to me.
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post #308 of 323 Old 06-08-2007, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

I don't understand why people have such a hard time believing what the majors are telling them: there is not sufficient market in the US to sell what they want to sell in volumes to make it worth their while. Pioneer was losing money in the US and has pulled out. Panasonic is still very much in the market here. They have 4 models they are selling for resonable prices. But they know if they try to sell a HDD version for double the price (their usual premium) it is going to sit on the shelf. Phillips has now introduced a HDD-model that appears to be fully functional and only lacking a few desired features -- at a $300 price-point. How much of a premium do you think Panasonic can charge for their own HDD-unit.

But prices are falling on the components, hard disks are much cheaper for example, super-multi-format drives are much more common. So they could theoretically have similar margins at a lower price. Prices of other electronics are also falling, 26" LCD HDTVs for $500 and even the major names are going for less than $1000. Digital camera prices have also gone down. Until something new comes up that they can charge a premium (digital tuners, bluray/hd-dvd, etc).

The other thing is that all of them pulled out at the same time. This usually points to something more than just sales/profits.

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post #309 of 323 Old 06-08-2007, 05:50 PM
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But Panasonic did not pull out of the market. They are very much in with 4 ATSC tuner models. Who else has more than 1 let alone 4 (and I don't mean announced, I mean actually shipping). Tell me, why would they have no HDD models and yet offer 4 non-HDD models. Could it possibly be -- that's what's selling for them??? DMR EZ-27 lists for $250, sells for $238 in BB and can be had on-line for $214. Can you see Panasonic dropping in a 160GB drive to make it match the phillips 3575 and then only raising the price less than $100?

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post #310 of 323 Old 06-08-2007, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

But Panasonic did not pull out of the market.

That's true. Well, I give up. Unless someone manages to talk to one of the decision makers at these companies we may never know exactly why Panasonic didn't bother to build a 2007 HDD model for the American-sized market while at the same time Pioneer thought it was worth building one for the Canadian-sized market.
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post #311 of 323 Old 06-10-2007, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

But Panasonic did not pull out of the market. They are very much in with 4 ATSC tuner models. Who else has more than 1 let alone 4 (and I don't mean announced, I mean actually shipping). Tell me, why would they have no HDD models and yet offer 4 non-HDD models. Could it possibly be -- that's what's selling for them??? DMR EZ-27 lists for $250, sells for $238 in BB and can be had on-line for $214. Can you see Panasonic dropping in a 160GB drive to make it match the phillips 3575 and then only raising the price less than $100?

Panasonic has been historically charging more than Philips so they would probably charge more than $100 for a 160gb HDD based model regardless. Although given the continuing drop in HDD prices, they could afford to offer it a slightly lower price.

As to why they do not, well, that's a different story (more of a combination of possiblities than a story really).

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post #312 of 323 Old 06-11-2007, 12:13 PM
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Had a good look and sneaked a picture which I'll upload later.
Price $449 CDN (will be on sale next month for $50 off)


440 has:

- 160 GB drive
- HDMI output, upscaling
- DivX light on front
- Copy light on front
- buttons on hideaway panel have new arrangement
- standard two buttons at the corners look
- same remote (at least based on box pic) as 640

What's missing:

- no usb input

Other info :

- Manufactured April 2007
- Canada specific box and packaging

Kev
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post #313 of 323 Old 06-11-2007, 12:50 PM
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I picked up a 550 Pioneer (160 GB hard drive version) the other day. From what I noticed the differences are. The 550 has HDMI with 1080P up conversion. You can also now record to all formats plus and minus aswell as its now dual layer recording and RAM aswell. The home menu has disc navigator, timer recording, DV, play mode, photoviewer, disc setup, initial setup, video adjust, copy and jukebox. There are 1-2 extra options there. Also XP+ is back. In the front there is a USB port (type A) and a USB port (type B) and DV in. Can't remember if the 640 had DIVX but this one does. there is still only a coxial digital out, no optical.
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post #314 of 323 Old 06-11-2007, 07:38 PM
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Had a good look and sneaked a picture which I'll upload later.
Price $449 CDN (will be on sale next month for $50 off)


440 has:

I believe that this is the"450", not a "440".
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post #315 of 323 Old 06-11-2007, 11:31 PM
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I paid $469 for the 550.
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post #316 of 323 Old 06-12-2007, 12:45 PM
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I picked up a 550 Pioneer (160 GB hard drive version) the other day. From what I noticed the differences are. The 550 has HDMI with 1080P up conversion. You can also now record to all formats plus and minus aswell as its now dual layer recording and RAM aswell. The home menu has disc navigator, timer recording, DV, play mode, photoviewer, disc setup, initial setup, video adjust, copy and jukebox. There are 1-2 extra options there. Also XP+ is back. In the front there is a USB port (type A) and a USB port (type B) and DV in. Can't remember if the 640 had DIVX but this one does. there is still only a coxial digital out, no optical.

Interesting. But no digital tuner, is that right . . . ? Otherwise, seems to have much that is present in all but their top line Euro models. Is this the highest capacity HDD in a current Canadian model ?

It still won't help re the warranty issue, for anyone stateside who might want one (assuming they could find a way to get it over the border), but this may present a viable alternative to those two more costly Int'l. models that the "220" dealer in New York is still selling.
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post #317 of 323 Old 06-12-2007, 03:09 PM
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There is a 650 model with a 250 GB hard drive but they don't carry that one here. As far as the tuner goes I don't think its digital. It doesn't really say much about it in the manual. In the back it says for tuner VHF, UHF and CATV with channel numbers listed for each.
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post #318 of 323 Old 06-12-2007, 05:46 PM
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I've seen the 650 at Futureshop in both the Toronto area and in Peterborough, where I live. It's $549. I own the 543 model, and will be watching for the 650 to go on sale. Futureshop has both the 550 and 650, while Costco has the 450, which they're selling for $449, and which has a coupon for $60 off in July.
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post #319 of 323 Old 06-13-2007, 01:51 PM
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I picked up the 450h last week at Costco and they said bring your bill of sale in when the $60 off coupon is valid & they will refund that amount, so no need to wait.
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post #320 of 323 Old 06-13-2007, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripper64 View Post

I picked up a 550 Pioneer (160 GB hard drive version) the other day. From what I noticed the differences are. The 550 has HDMI with 1080P up conversion. You can also now record to all formats plus and minus aswell as its now dual layer recording and RAM aswell. The home menu has disc navigator, timer recording, DV, play mode, photoviewer, disc setup, initial setup, video adjust, copy and jukebox. There are 1-2 extra options there. Also XP+ is back. In the front there is a USB port (type A) and a USB port (type B) and DV in. Can't remember if the 640 had DIVX but this one does. there is still only a coxial digital out, no optical.

Does it have chapter marking on the remote?
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post #321 of 323 Old 06-14-2007, 12:52 AM
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No. As a matter of fact, both the 650 and 550 used the same remote of last year's 640. Even the colour is white which doesn't go too well with the 2007 black 650 and 550.
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post #322 of 323 Old 07-09-2007, 11:30 AM
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The 640 has been out of distribution for awhile now, although they do turn up on Ebay with exorbitant prices. Our fortunate neighbors to the North have some good alternatives, in the form of some more recent models. (See the 'Coming to Canada' and '450H First Impressions' threads, here.)

But those of us in the U.S. have a few more options than I was aware of. Take a look at this recent thread from VH:

http://forum.videohelp.com/topic332696.html
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post #323 of 323 Old 07-14-2007, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post

The 640 has been out of distribution for awhile now, although they do turn up on Ebay with exorbitant prices. Our fortunate neighbors to the North have some good alternatives, in the form of some more recent models. (See the 'Coming to Canada' and '450H First Impressions' threads, here.)

But those of us in the U.S. have a few more options than I was aware of. Take a look at this recent thread from VH:

http://forum.videohelp.com/topic332696.html

The imports are one alternative, but the poster on the Toshibas in the US was wrong, that press release was for the UK market (thus the reference to Freeview and PAL).

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