Originally Posted by Charles Hansen
Thanks very much for the kind words, Jeff. Ayre has dedicated a vast amount of resources to advance the state of the art for both audio and video playback. As many have found, the resultant picture quality and sound quality are unparalleled. The difficulty is that the video industry in particular is driven by a model of planned obsolescence. Video products tend to be introduced with a one-year life cycle, while Ayre requires three to five years to recoup the R&D investments needed to optimize any new technology. I don't personally see a good solution. Please let me know if you do.
I do understand the mechanics of the R&D and the business restraints related to the licenses and such that are required. It continues to dumbfound me the fees related to the licensing of products. It seems they should want their products to succeed, so why restrict it to the degree they do? That is conversation for another day and one that will yield no resolution, unfortunately.
I have not brainstormed your question in depth and if the opportunity presents itself, I would love to do that with you to fully understand every obstacle so as to know the best solution. With that being said, the few ideas that I have regarding the video would be to help diversify the investment of the R&D for video in a few of the following ways:
1.) Allow dealers, that believe in the Ayre video that would stand to make money from selling players, to invest in the R&D for possible additional purchasing discounts if they sell a certain amount of the players when it comes to market.
2.) Allow customers to make non-refundable deposits towards new players that you plan to develop and possibly offer them a slight discount for the money up front. This would take some of the burden of expense off of Ayre while being developed (if enough deposits were made) and will indicate how many players might be sold up front. This method, I believe, would possibly work because of the devotion many AYRE fans have to your products. I know that at this point, I will only have a full AYRE system and I doubt that will ever change for me and I am sure many other people as well. I don't know your customer database, nor the relationships given so that data eludes me to make a decision.
3.) I would have possibly more additions to consider if I understand the parameters of the technology to understand if it is possible to offer upgrade paths as well. I don't know your data on the profitability of the upgrades on products and how many people have taken you up on upgrades, etc. There would be no shortage of accounting numbers needed to quantify this approach.
4.) Having a joint relationship with a company (not Oppo since they misrepresented things to you once before and from what I have heard, pilfered your design ideas without payment) that you trust and have a joint beneficial relationship with that could benefit from the technology. Possibly have a cable tie in to the video circuitry inside and the cable used to connect the machine that would be included. This is easier said than done. Again, numbers would be needed to evaluate but sometimes the harder approach pays more in the long run.
5.) This seems simple and overstated but not sufficiently explored in the world of high end audio. Marketing in the mainstream instead of the isolation of the high end.
There are several other options that come to mind. I am not sure it would be prudent or efficient to mention them here.
I am hesitant to even start believing that my comments would spark any ideas, but I have always believe that Ayre products are underserved and undersold and they have earned a spot in our audio/video world that is being under utilized to a very large degree and that a spark could ignite a fire to realize the potential.