Hey Hopeful Fred
I agree with your points. There are some exceptions where niche players attract a significantly higher price than the large brands. Look at Bang and Olufsen. I love their marketing!
I don't plan on competing with $8000 projectors. If people have a dedicated room, money for an anamorphic lens and a quality screen etc, they should go that route. I am making (or should I say, having made) TV's in a price range that is less than half of that at the top end. I plan on targeting a niche that isn't currently served by existing brands.
My panels will be made by one of the top 5 panel makers and I'm only using grade A New panels. All of the features you mentioned are already part of the spec and in some cases, significantly exceeded. The exception is the color management system. I'd love to understand a little more about what you'd like to see in that respect and where your source material currently comes from (blue-ray, dvd, download, stream etc). I started this thread to get input so I can market something that people want so your help is really appreciated. You obviously know you stuff in this area. To the extent that it's viable, I will make changes based on this kind of input.
Sony has significant economies of scale and definitely don't sell at a low price point. In my opinion, they aren't even that good anymore (well not like they used to be).
With the caveat that I haven't been through their books with a fine tooth comb, I think their problem is:
- There isn't as much "economy of scale" in panels as you might think and panels are 80% of the total cost (give or take)
- They have to fund an enormous fixed cost infrastructure in plant, equipment, R&D, retail outlets and hundreds of thousands of employees -I don't have that issue
-They are riding on the back of multiple failed content platform launches.
-Technology moves so quickly that they are forever having to discount to dump old stock - I will make less and focus 3-4 models
-With all that fixed infrastructure, they can't exactly make fewer TV's - their pricing has to account for a percentage of the output being sold at a loss (I don't)
-The backdrop to all of this is falling sales and increasing competition - I don't plan on competing in the mainstream or selling enough for anyone to notice
In many ways, the smaller guys are better placed to profit in this market. I have a lot of respect for what Vizio are doing. Because of them, thousands of people in lower income brackets can afford 65" 3D movie screens. They make a profit while Sony can't seem to make money in this business .
While a lot of people will disagree with me, I think the current path that the large corporates are taking with new technology is massively misguided. It isn't surprising that they are experiencing customer fatigue and a lack of excitement for new product launches. They are becoming almost more niche than me
I saw Sony demoing one of their 4k projectors. The amount of money they had spent on the R&D was unbelievable. Yet again they have forgotten the golden rule for new technology in this space which is content, content, CONTENT!
So now the latest batch of TV's are back in the $4000+ range. Cable hasn't even caught up to the 1080p standard yet. In the most part, I see the trend going the other way with the rise in popularity of internet streaming (I looooooove Netflix). I have the most expensive internet package that Time Warner offered me and streaming Netflix is pushing up against it's limit. The guy doing the 4K demo said one movie would have to come on 20 blu-ray discs.... I tried to explain 4k to my wife and I may as well have been trying to explain nuclear physics and rocket science in chinese while standing on my head, rubbing my nose and patting my belly at the same time. BTW the trend part isn't just my opinion, my brother works for a company that makes cable boxes. They are worried about streaming making them obsolete so they are working with the cable providers to lock-in content like live sporting events to slow their imminent demise.
From my point of view, I'm thinking screw 4K, the F...ING SCREEN IS STILL THE WRONG SHAPE FOR MOVIES! (sorry, my inner-monologue curses a lot). The panels are already available without the need for more R&D, just give me one! The guy who gave us the Betamax Video, Minidisc and HD DVD is obviously still working there and still missing the point - Learn a lesson already.
Everyone has things that are important to them. When I see the calibrated TV next to the uncalibrated one in Best Buy - I think, I see the difference, but if they weren't side by side, I wouldn't notice. It's my expectation that a $3,000 tv should come already properly calibrated and Best Buy should stop trying to squeeze more money out of people.
If I see black bars, it ruins my enjoyment of the movie. Being given the choice of losing 1/3 of the picture or 1/3 of the screen size, suddenly 4K feels like the wrong priority for me. A director goes out of his way to shoot an amazing wide shot and these guys are ruining it for me so that desperate housewives and Gossip Girl get a full screen.
I know filling a 21:9 screen means expanding the picture but I have a plan on the content side too. To me it's still preferable to black bars. Black bars is what started me importing electronics from Asia as a 13 year-old. I grew up in the UK where they used 50hz TV's instead of 60hz like here and Japan. The Pal standard had 625 lines compared to 525 lines used in the NTSC standard. Because of this my Pal Nintendo and Neo Geo had black bars covering 17.5% of the screen and the games ran17.5% too slowly. It aggravated me so much that I started a business importing them from Japan and the US to sell in the UK. In some cases, I had to drill through the casing and soldering a scart lead directly to the motherboard so it would work on UK TV's. I know that's a little OCD for a 13 year old but I just one things to be the way they are supposed to be.
I had a laserdisc player then too and was watching 2.35:1 movies on a 4:3 screen and have been wanting a solution for this ever since....