HH Gregg Drops Panasonic - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 07-23-2012, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Things are not looking so rosy for Panasonic right now. I was in HH Gregg over the weekend and learned that they have dropped the Panasonic line altogether. All they had was leftover models from last year. On top of that, Best Buy is only carrying the ST50 in their regular stores. In my case, if I want a GT50 or VT50 I have to order it from their Magnolia store. I think Sears is also not selling the GT or VT models. And Sams Club and Costco only have Panasonic's bottom line models of plasma. Apparently most customers are smitten with those bright LCD/LED screens and passing up plasmas, not to mention that 3D is not exactly the market stimulus they hoped. Panasonic needs to get cracking on that big-screen OLED soon. While I personally prefer a plasma TV, it's starting to look like Panasonic stayed too long with plasma when they should have been hitting OLED harder with R&D money.

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post #2 of 20 Old 07-23-2012, 02:54 PM
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You, I , and most of the people on this forum are outside the curve. We all care about quality and features. 99% of the country do not care for this as long as the picture looks good, plays DVD, and streams Netflix. Frankly, I have looked at some of those TV's at Best Buy and WallyWorld and I think most look very good. If you compare these TV's from Best Buy and WallyWorld, the video quality is outstanding compared to some of the older tube TV's and some of the older HD DLP console TV's that are 1,000ft tall and 400 ft wide. The Panasonic ST30 is an outstanding TV. Plus, it is a good price. Most people, if they can afford it, will shop by price and price alone as the only reason why they choose a TV. I can safely say that price is the #1 reason most people look at when buying TV's. This is like that age old argument on buying a car. Yea, that Lambo will look good in the driveway and get me a lot of tail, but the minivan will haul my brood with all the strollers. This is why Panasonic is not selling many high end TV's In fact, most companies are not selling many TV's. Everybody is hurting for money.

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post #3 of 20 Old 07-23-2012, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmith901 View Post

Things are not looking so rosy for Panasonic right now. I was in HH Gregg over the weekend and learned that they have dropped the Panasonic line altogether. .....

Remember that there are at least two other possibilities here:

1) Panasonic has dropped HHGregg; and

2) The two companies failed come to agreement on Panasonic's "new" pricing policies (as discussed elsewhere earlier in the year).

Whatever the current Real World Practices are, Panasonic publicly announced more stringent rules on pricing (ads) for the 2012 models.
They also were open about the fact that they intended to build FEWER Plasma sets in 2012, due to the excess inventory problem with the 2011 sets.

This combination - although particularly the reduced production goals - SHOULD have the effect of propping up prices, and might also put some retail chains in the position of not being able to obtain the product lines (or Quantity) that they desire, and/or the Discount that they might otherwise achieve.

The implication behind "HHGregg dropped Panasonic" is that the Panasonic models were somehow "Defective."
The implication behind Panasonic dropping HHGregg, is that the Retailer was somehow "Defective."
Failing to come to an agreement is just that - and there need be no party that is "at fault."

CostCo and Sams Club seldom obtain mid- or upper- level models until late in the year - and then only on a limited basis. Is certainly possible that they won't see ANY Panasonics this year, but am guessing that at least the ST50 will make their stores, albeit in limited sizes.

In fact, have only seen a handful of Plasma sets at CostCo this year: The 60" LG PA6550, and a couple of lower end Samsungs in the 51" (or smaller - ?) size. But note that CostCo stock can - and often does - vary from region to region, or even from store to store: the CostCo at the North end of our city usually carries a much broader stock of electronics than the one at the Southern end: and these two stores ARE literally within the same city boundaries!

Still, would agree that most HDTV purchases are based upon price, and that LCDs DO tend to look better (Brighter!!) in the stores.

And have read several times that Panasonic's top selling plasma lines are at the lower end: X5 & U50, from memory....
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post #4 of 20 Old 07-23-2012, 04:52 PM
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Don't plama's have a much higher rate of buyers returning them for whatever reasons?
Samsung dropped 2 plasma models this year.
What is the percentage of plasma sales compared to LCD/LED?
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post #5 of 20 Old 07-23-2012, 07:28 PM
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Plasma's are not selling as much simply due to the profit margins companies can earn on them. LCD/LED is an old technology that has been repackaged and advertised as the "next best thing". They can increase pricing on these items and have a much higher profit earning per unit since current overall global demand is down across the board. Brick and Mortar stores max out the resolution to artificially fool people into thinking that LCD/LED set are superior to plasma. Anyone who takes the time to Google, would know otherwise. Simply, they have put the average consumer at a disadvantage because they will only sell higher ticket items to unsuspecting people who can not judge for themselves which set to get. Most well informed people who take the time to research know that hands down almost all sites that review t.v.'s would agree that plasma is king when it comes to refresh rates, resolution, motion, black levels.
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post #6 of 20 Old 07-23-2012, 10:03 PM
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I sell tvs at Bestbuy and our stores have all the panasonic plasma models... St50 is selling like crazy this year from all the good ratings. And partially cause i push plasma sales.
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post #7 of 20 Old 07-24-2012, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dierkdr View Post

Remember that there are at least two other possibilities here:
1) Panasonic has dropped HHGregg; and
2) The two companies failed come to agreement on Panasonic's "new" pricing policies (as discussed elsewhere earlier in the year).
Whatever the current Real World Practices are, Panasonic publicly announced more stringent rules on pricing (ads) for the 2012 models.
They also were open about the fact that they intended to build FEWER Plasma sets in 2012, due to the excess inventory problem with the 2011 sets.
This combination - although particularly the reduced production goals - SHOULD have the effect of propping up prices, and might also put some retail chains in the position of not being able to obtain the product lines (or Quantity) that they desire, and/or the Discount that they might otherwise achieve.
The implication behind "HHGregg dropped Panasonic" is that the Panasonic models were somehow "Defective."
The implication behind Panasonic dropping HHGregg, is that the Retailer was somehow "Defective."
Failing to come to an agreement is just that - and there need be no party that is "at fault."
CostCo and Sams Club seldom obtain mid- or upper- level models until late in the year - and then only on a limited basis. Is certainly possible that they won't see ANY Panasonics this year, but am guessing that at least the ST50 will make their stores, albeit in limited sizes.
In fact, have only seen a handful of Plasma sets at CostCo this year: The 60" LG PA6550, and a couple of lower end Samsungs in the 51" (or smaller - ?) size. But note that CostCo stock can - and often does - vary from region to region, or even from store to store: the CostCo at the North end of our city usually carries a much broader stock of electronics than the one at the Southern end: and these two stores ARE literally within the same city boundaries!
Still, would agree that most HDTV purchases are based upon price, and that LCDs DO tend to look better (Brighter!!) in the stores.
And have read several times that Panasonic's top selling plasma lines are at the lower end: X5 & U50, from memory....



I was told by an employee at HH that it is option 2. They couldn't come to an agreement on pricing.
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post #8 of 20 Old 07-24-2012, 05:45 AM
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post #9 of 20 Old 07-24-2012, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmith901 View Post

Things are not looking so rosy for Panasonic right now. I was in HH Gregg over the weekend and learned that they have dropped the Panasonic line altogether.

IIRC, HH Gregg was sanctioned by Panasonic earlier this year for advertising a pre-order price on their site that was below MAP and in violation of Panasonic's policies.

Quote:
On top of that, Best Buy is only carrying the ST50 in their regular stores.

Not true - the BB's near me stock the U50 and UT50 models.


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In my case, if I want a GT50 or VT50 I have to order it from their Magnolia store.

Just as it was in 2011 - the higher end GT30 and VT30 models were only available through Magnolia so this isn't something new.

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I think Sears is also not selling the GT or VT models.

Sears has never been good at selling Plasma TVs, they don't market them or display them properly, they don't have a knowledgeable sales force, and don't have the right clientele. They're more like Target or Brandsmart and sell more LCDs than anything else. Nothing new here.

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And Sams Club and Costco only have Panasonic's bottom line models of plasma.

This has always been the case - and it goes for all the brands not just Panasonic. Near the end of the model year Costco does sometimes buy up remaining inventory of higher end models and blows them out at low prices - but the rest of the year yes they sell the lower end models.

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Apparently most customers are smitten with those bright LCD/LED screens and passing up plasmas

It's been this way for many years.

Quote:
not to mention that 3D is not exactly the market stimulus they hoped.

3D is slowly gaining in popularity, but interest has always been very low for all brands.

Quote:
Panasonic needs to get cracking on that big-screen OLED soon.

They are already developing OLED behind the scenes. Word has it that it looks promising, and i imagine Panasonic will lay back and see how things shake out with Samsung and LG's OLED offerings before jumping into that pool

Quote:
While I personally prefer a plasma TV, it's starting to look like Panasonic stayed too long with plasma when they should have been hitting OLED harder with R&D money.

Nah, Plasma is still very viable and economical to produce for Panasonic (and Samsung too) and should remain so until OLED becomes technically and financially feasible enough to replace it. The problem for all TV makers right now is the market for new TVs is very soft this year and sales are down for everybody.

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post #10 of 20 Old 07-24-2012, 07:46 AM
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Everyone is hurting is right. Including the consumer, and as stated above Joe six pack will roll in to Wal Mart or another store and buy the 60 Septre television in the circular if it saves them cash and gets them a giant screen and a picture that is bright. There will always be a higher end set for nerds like us on this board, but I hope that the choices don't thin out due to the consumer. All you have to look at is VHS vs. BETA, people vote with cash not quality most times.

The problem with Plasma is the show floor. Even this years models don't look as great next to a LED or LCD cranked for maximum brightness. All I own is Plasma, because once you get it home it is stunning, but on the showroom floor it looks dim to the average eye.

As for profit margins, I think Plasma has a higher profit margin then lcd / led, look for the shootout video from this year and listen to the father of plasma speak about this.

Another thing to consider as well is that Big Box electronic stores are on the way out. Just look at the financials of Best Buy, they are getting killed. This would be sad if this happens but everyone wants more for less. BB tries to be aggressive with price but if you can save $100 / $200 / or $500 on a new flat screen, pay no tax and have it delivered to you with return options you can see why they are suffering.

I am part of the problem. My family uses Amazon for about everything if the price is competitive or lower due to the rationale above. In this day and age you have to be wise with your money and I have no complaints about the service I have received from many on line retail companies.

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post #11 of 20 Old 07-24-2012, 08:19 AM
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Some people just don't know how to research before forming an opinion.

People are still discovering plasma for the first time after being disappointed with LED, and others are returning for several reasons. This number may have increased or may be the same but I would bet that the number has not decreased.

Sales are down for tvs across the board globally, with the exception being LG. I am not surprised- their price is right, they offer tools that Panasonic does not including the calibration Wizard, they offer more options under 50" and their reputation has grown with everyone from student to homeowner. They are the expected winner in this lousy economy and I believe they will continue to be to the point of knocking Samsung out of their position in the near future. LG= youth plus older homeowners, Samsung and Panasonic - not so much. I think the biggest failure on the part of Panasonic is not offering more options below 50".

So is this about Panasonic going down the tubes? I don't think so. Is this about the death of plasma? No. Is this about the economy? Yes- no real job security and people are still losing their homes. Is this about the change in the way people are using electronics all together? I believe it is a big factor, with portability and multipurpose, being much more attractive to young consumers who are foolishly spending like no economic problem exists. Heck, they are spending the same amount of money on a cell phone as the cost of a small tv and often more than twice in a year.

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post #12 of 20 Old 07-24-2012, 08:20 AM
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Randy, I always consider your posts to be a light of reason and common sense in a sea of misconception.

That being said I work in the electronics dept. of a very large Sears store. We have all of the Panasonic models on display in one size or another with the sole exception of the GT-50 series, and those are orderable. We actually had the 65" VT50 on display for months before we got the lowly X5s. I will admit that the lights are too bright to show these to their best advantage, but that's the case in virtually any BM store. Our salespeople are pretty knowledgeable about the advantages/disadvantages of plasma vs lcd and led/lcd. What we can't do is always convert the customer whose hairdresser's mechanic's second cousin told them plasmas were no good based on thier experience 7 years ago with a Gateway, Haier, or other junk set. We do sell more Panny plasmas than any other store in the chain between Bakersfield and SF, and more than most competing BM stores. We also encounter fairly few customers who can afford high end sets of any make, but there again it's not for lack of trying to sell them.
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post #13 of 20 Old 07-24-2012, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyWalters View Post

Plasma is still very viable and economical to produce for Panasonic (and Samsung too) and should remain so until OLED becomes technically and financially feasible enough to replace it. The problem for all TV makers right now is the market for new TVs is very soft this year and sales are down for everybody.

Excellent point. I've have worked closely with Panasonic when I was in the car audio business. They are a very conservative company and will often take a back seat to new technology until it becomes practical to produce it. It's one of the reasons for their success when it comes to quality and reliability.



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post #14 of 20 Old 07-24-2012, 08:48 AM
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Best Buy in Houston has ship to store on most of their ST,GT and VT so either their stock was low or they are selling all they get which if the latter looks pretty good.
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post #15 of 20 Old 07-25-2012, 07:13 AM - Thread Starter
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I did not mean to imply that Panasonic was about to go the way of Pioneer, and part of my frustration is that so many CE retailers have bitten the dust in recent years (Circuit City, Rex, CompUSA, Tweeter/Sound Advice, McDuffs) and there are even rumors that Best Buy is on shaky footing as well, that I hate it when my options shrink so fast for those of us who do not live in a major market. OTOH, except for my Panasonic plasma and a single BD player, every device in my considerable rack was purchased mail-order, primarily because they were and are not available locally.

The explanation that HHG and Panasonic disagreed on pricing makes sense, but it also means Panasonic has one less outlet for small to mid-size markets in the south. Historically, Panasonic has not been all that hard on retailers, at least not compared to Apple, Bose, Sony, Pioneer, and such. As for OLED, I know that Panasonic is now collaborating with Sony on it's development, and I expect great things to result therefrom. I just think they should have done more research with OLED, or even SED, sooner. Plasma displays are great despite their limitations, and better IMO than LCD/LED, but when OLED matures I expect it will be end game for all other display types for the foreseeable future.

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post #16 of 20 Old 07-25-2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmith901 View Post

Plasma displays are great despite their limitations, and better IMO than LCD/LED, but when OLED matures I expect it will be end game for all other display types for the foreseeable future.

If anything OLED will be too expensive for most people and as a result
Plasma LED/LCD prices will drop.
New tech always helps to lower old tech prices.
I can't wait till 60" 1080 plasmas drop below the $800 mark!
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post #17 of 20 Old 07-25-2012, 12:02 PM
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OLED has another drawback besides price and thats current life expectancy.
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post #18 of 20 Old 07-25-2012, 12:57 PM
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The problem with Plasma is the show floor. Even this years models don't look as great next to a LED or LCD cranked for maximum brightness. All I own is Plasma, because once you get it home it is stunning, but on the showroom floor it looks dim to the average eye.

^ This. HDTVs are rarely shown in an environment where the customers can view them with a critical eye. It is mostly bright overhead lighting, a wall of displays, and a poor quality looping video feed. People are just buying sets based on which has the biggest screen per $, which has the most features, which looks the best, and then finally picture quality (in that order). I think big box stores are creating their own problem because they don't have an environment where people can see PQ differences which may lead them to spend more on a display. TV manufacturers are in a race to the bottom where they know that the biggest cheap TV they sell will likely be a sales leader.

I think big box would be well served by carrying less TV SKUs, but displaying them in a darkened area and letting people pick Blu Ray content to do the demo with. Not every can tell the difference between a high end plasma and a store brand LED TV on a store wall, however they will definitely see that the LED is brighter and "pops" more (because it is blinding them). If you put those TVs into an normally lit area where people could sit on a couch and view some HD content, they would very much appreciate the plasma.

Last year my parents bought a Samsung D6x00 at Best Buy. They were not planning to buy a TV, it just sort of happened and they paid quite a bit for it. I had to go help them set it up, because they can barely operate a microwave. They kept rambling on about how thin the TV was, how bright it was, and how impressed they were to have a Smart TV even though they still haven't bothered to connect it to any network. This is a dream customer for a store like Best Buy. They won't return anything unless it is 100% dead, they won't ask questions, they buy $40 HDMI cables, they are just happy to have a TV that turns on, and they purchase $1700 items because they look shiny and bright sitting on demo wall.

Side note: When I pulled out my parent's old TV + receiver + cable box, there were five cables either plugged into nothing, or plugged into the same device the cable came from.
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post #19 of 20 Old 07-25-2012, 04:12 PM
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God bless your parents.....and consumers like them..but i would ask how old is the tv they are replacing? therein lies the problem...guys on the avs forums are prone to replace old technology with new in a heat beat while content consumer like your parents might never replace the one they just bought...My mother in law had to be talked into dumping her 22 year old Mitsu 25"console for a 42" penny...she loves it..but still insists she would be perfectly happy with the console..and believe me when i say the colors were far from good...atrocious,as a definition,would be kind..
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post #20 of 20 Old 07-25-2012, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by oztech View Post

OLED has another drawback besides price and thats current life expectancy.

I wonder if LG and Samsung solved that problem by adding the extra 'clear' pixel for white/black.
I remember reading the early OLED's also had a problem with too much blue.
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