When I was shopping around for a new 5-disc CD changer a while ago, I was looking at two Sony models, one being $200 more than the other ($400-vs-$600 or so).
They were cosmetically identical, and the specs on them seemed only to have minor differences. My wife ran a quick blind test, and I ended up preferring the cheaper one every time. I asked the salesperson why there was a cost difference, and he admitted that they were for all practial purposes basically identical, but Sony wanted to have all their "price-point" bases covered.
People would come into the store looking for a CD player in the $500-$1000 range, and wouldn't even look at a $400 player, even though it performed as well as the $600 model.
Could be a similar thing is happening in your case.
[This message has been edited by Chris Carollo (edited 04-20-2001).]