Originally Posted by Pedro2
what needs to come down is the price of replacement bulbs--projector prices have plummeted in the last six years, bulbs have not budget much at all.
The problem is lamps aren't like silicon, silicon manufacturing prices plummet each year, while things like precision optics don't.
Originally Posted by floridapoolboy
The issue isn't "cheap" versus "quality", but rather how much profit is reasonable for a given projector. Case in point, I recently bought a Viewsonic Pro8100. A few years ago this pj was listed at $4995 (notice I didn't say selling for!), but I bought mine new for $1299. Guess what, Viewsonic STILL made a profit! Consumer electronics have crazy markups, but over time the manufacturers lower their margins to move more product. My first JVC "progressive scan" DVD player cost $399, and today I saw a Pioneer Bluray player advertised for $99!
It's not quite that simple. The big driving force in electronics getting cheaper is that manufacturing processes change each year, as does technology and it gets cheaper and cheaper to manufacture the parts. Game consoles are the perfect example. They're sold at a loss when they're released, but they're still expensive. But by the end of their life, the cost to build that machine has dropped to the point that even at 1/4 the price it originally sold for (where it was losing money) the hardware is profitable.
The other big issue is R&D, it's not free to develop a projector, it takes money, lots of money. And the way you recoup that money is you charge a lot more than the parts cost. But after a few years you've recouped that R&D and you can reduce the price to much closer to the parts cost.
Add all that up, the "paying off" the R&D "loan" and the drastic reduction in manufacturing cost and you can sell for a lot less and still make money.
Of course there's another thing that happens and we've seen it best illustrated recently by Pioneer's exit from the Plasma market. At the end of that, they were selling for incredible prices because they were just trying to move surplus stock.
But of course none of this means high prices at release are "exhortation", or just the result of greedy, money grubbing companies.
I like the way electronics get less expensive after a short time on the market, last years models are always a bargain. Still, it makes you wonder just how much profit is added on to something like a $40K Lumis projector. I don't want to single them out, but I'm thinking at least $35K worth!
R&D is probably most of the cost of the Lumis if I had to guess. I mean parts cost will be more than a cheap machine, but not 10x, I'd bet the majority of the price premium is the cost of the R&D for a machine that, due to the higher parts cost, will sell in very low numbers (compared to something like a Optoma).
Look at it this way, lets say (just for arguments sake) that the Lumis parts cost is 3x that of the Planar 8150, and that it's parts cost is $5000 (pulling numbers from my... of course). That means the Lumis' parts cost would be $15,000.
Now Lumis is much more complicated, both in hardware and software, so maybe R&D is also 3x as much. Lets for arguments sake say the Planar cost $2,000,000 to develop.
Now continuing this thought experiment, lets say Planar figured they could sell 1,000 8150's per year and they wanted to pay off the R&D in two, and make $1000 profit per machine. So $2,000,000/(1000 * 2 years) = $1000/machine to cover R&D so we've got:
$5000 parts + $1000 R&D + $1000 profit = $7000 selling price.
But what about the Lumis, we're assuming 3x the R&D cost, so $6,000,000, but lets say Sim only thinks they'll sell 100 machines per year, since the higher parts cost will put them in a much more exclusive market. So that would mean they'd need to add $6,000,000/(100 * 2 years ) = $30,000 / machine to "pay off" the R&D cost.
So right there we're $15,000 parts + $30,000 R&D = $45,000 just to cover the cost of developing and building the machine, and that's no profit. Even if we assume equal R&D cost between the two, that's still $10,000/machine to cover the R&D so that still puts the cost to make a Lumis at $25,000.
Obviously none of these numbers are right, for either machine, but it goes to show that even if a high end machine doesn't cost a lot more parts wise, the simple fact that it's "high end" and thus sells less units means the cost to produce each unit is much higher.