Originally Posted by alluringreality
The most interesting thing about that article was that a cheap 32" LCD sells for $1150 in Japan, because earlier today I saw that Micro Center has an after rebate sale price of $400 Monday. The second most interesting thing was that the player price was estimated at $500, even though it was 20% more than the PS3.
Although front projectors are usually cheaper in Japan, LCD flat panel TVs are usually higher priced here than they are in the U.S. Granted, this doesn't seem to have hurt sales here. Tube and rear projection TVs are pretty much extinct in these parts. One reason for the higher price may be that there's not as much competition from some of the budget flat panel brands like Scepter and Vizio which are commonly found in Costco and other mass retailers in the States. Sharp, Panasonic, Sony, Victor (JVC), Hitachi and Toshiba still rule here. Also, rebates in general aren't very common, so U.S. consumers usually have the edge in that regard.
Instead, what's really popular here are "point cards." Most big consumer electronic stores have them, and they award anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of the total purchase price of any goods in the store as "points" which are each equivalent to one yen. For example, buy a TV for 100,000 yen (about $833 U.S.) and you'll receive 5,000 to 15,000 points/yen ($41 - $125) on your point card. These points can be used towards any future purchases, even if the product is already on sale. Stores usually give points for any purchase, even small stuff like batteries, prerecorded CDs and movies, batteries, etc., so points can add up pretty quickly.
As far a the price difference between the Funai player and the PS3 is concerned, it sounds about right. The PS3 20 Gb model has been sold for just under 50,000 yen since introduction. That works out to $416 U.S. in Japan, compared to $500 in the States. A lot of people (myself included) who bought it on release day actually got it for less because we could use the above-mentioned points towards the purchase. Although there weren't any stores (that I know of) selling the PS3 at a discount, stores have no say in how or when customers redeem their points. I know some guys who had so many points on their point cards that they practically got their PS3s for free.