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I ran across some interesting financial data that might explain, in some small part, why no NEW Panasonic DVDRs in the U.S. since 2008 (EA18, EZ28, EZ48 models, 400-500 ea. still available thru J&R alone).

Here's a 4-year Panasonic financial summary from 2006-2009 that shows their bottom line plummeted from a US $3B profit in 2008 to $4B LOSS in 2009.


Checking the "Cash Flow" stats, the "red ink" looks even worse and for a longer period, starting in 2007 (bad year for cash) and continuing thru 2009.


Funai has also seen yearly declines in DVD-related business but they're prob. going to end their FY (Mar 2010) with about $1B net profit.
 

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I'm sure Panasonic is hurting, just like a lot of other companies. But I do see their DVDRs when I go to Best Buy and Fry's.
 

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A lot of companies lost money in 2009 -- that was the year of the great crash, after all. All electronics took a big hit as did most other markets based on discretionary spending.


As far as DVD recorders go, Panasonic is still in it, for the time being. They pulled out of the US HDD-DVDR market 3 yr ago and left the disk-only models in play. The EZ-X8 series looks to be a terminal line. This is the time of year when Panasonic's new lines are being introduced on their web-site. The EZ-X8 series was introduced in '08, not updated/replaced in '09 and now still nothing on the horizon for '10. I would be surprised if they ever release a new model of just SD DVD recorder in the US. At some point the X8 series will just disappear.


What do you mean by "(EA18 and EZ28 models, >500 ea. currently available thru J&R alone)"???

Check Pricegrabber . You can currently buy a new EZ-28 from Dell for $199 or an EA-18 from CompUSA for $159.
 

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I have not been in the DVD player market for years and now while looking for a new DVD player for a relative was shocked to discover that Panasonic no longer makes DVD players (other than the portable). They now make only DVD-R recorder/players and Blu-Ray players (both at 3-4X the DVD player price). Bummer.
 

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DVD players long ago became a bottom-feeder commodity, theres no upside to Panasonic trying to sell them since they can't profitably beat the generic lowballers on price and consumers have long since lost the traditional "good-better-best" shopping mentality: these days they either jump on the $29 CyberHome or the $299+ Oppos. A few might opt for a decent Phillips at $49 but thats about it for middle ground.


OTOH consumers get spoiled quickly, have short memories, and take things for granted- especially here in the US. In 2002 a good upper-midrange Panasonic DVD player cost $179 at discount stores. Todays EZ-28 player/recorder has better playback performance, HDMI, and includes an ATSC tuner and the recording function for roughly the same price- not a bad deal really. But if its sitting next to a Cyberhome at $29, a Sony at $39, and a Phillips at $59, it's gonna look insanely overpriced unless the shopper wants the recording function (and even then it seems "expensive" compared to similar $99 throwaway models from Magnavox). The same price erosion is already happening with BluRay, which is why many of the BD players on sale now involve major compromises. Consumer Electronics is a ruthless, tough business and it gets worse every year. The only brands doing really well are the ones with a lock on the majority of their market niche like Apple with its iPods or the various hot video game consoles like Wii.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmith901 /forum/post/18196240


I have not been in the DVD player market for years and now while looking for a new DVD player for a relative was shocked to discover that Panasonic no longer makes DVD players (other than the portable). They now make only DVD-R recorder/players and Blu-Ray players (both at 3-4X the DVD player price). Bummer.

This is a weird time of year when Panasonic re-does their website with the new lines. Often things disappear months in advance of the new models being introduced. That looks like what happened with their DVD players. Just a couple weeks ago, when I looked, they were gone. They now have several models listed when they also listed the new BD player line. No question Panasonic is big into BD players, but they are still selling DVD players -- low end ones . In line with what citibear wrote, what has disappeared from the various lines are the higher end DVD players with better upconversion circuitry. Good DVD upconversion has now been rolled into BD players, which is how they are distinguishing themselves in the market -- feature sets and quality of DVD upconversion. Good BD players are selling for the price we paid for good DVD players just a couple years ago.
 

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Originally Posted by CitiBear /forum/post/18196803


The same price erosion is already happening with BluRay, which is why many of the BD players on sale now involve major compromises.

It's also very much a factor of decreasing component cost and increasing scale. With the elimination of DVD players from most manufacturers' lines they are simply selling more BD players. More importantly, BD readers/burners are getting well established in the PC market, which is where the real component volumes are. So costs are coming down naturally as the volumes and scale goes up. One of the very neat things about BD players is that the resolution of the BD source is matched to large HDTV's. Little processing is required and as a result the reviews say just about all BD players look the same when playing BD. They distinguish themselves with bells & whistles and quality of DVD upconversion. That means there is ample market opportunity, directed at people like myself who already have a high-end DVD player, to sell inexpensive BD players that play BD with quality that equals the best of them, but don't have lots of features and don't do the job of an Oppo with upconversion (i.e. the Panasonic BD60 and now BD65, approaching the magic $100 price point on-line). If that is what you want to refer to as "major compromises", then I completely agree with you.
 

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BD hardware is not free-falling in price due to "economies of scale": lets not use that old warhorse as an explanation. Those days are gone: the "explosion" in computer BD is not remotely comparable to what happened with DVD adoption, and neither is the "drop in component costs" all that dramatic yet. The price cuts we're seeing are almost 100% desperation moves to lock down BD as a consumer standard before everyone stops caring, thats all. Part of this push involves making the cheaper (and even some of the expensive) BD players pretty lame at standard DVD playback, as a one-two punch: shave some parts costs, and subtly promote the not-necessarily-true bromide that DVD has been utterly, totally surpassed and we should never, EVER consider anything but BD titles from this day forward.


Thats the rub, and why I said the BD price erosion involves "compromises". Not everyone wants to own both a top-line DVD player and a crap-line BD player, most of us expected BD players to play both formats at top quality. Instead, we are now presented with "affordable" BD players that are crappy at DVD playback, horrible at CD playback, and some aren't even great at the very BD playback they were designed for. It is NOT true that "every BD player on the market is equal at BD playback": they might all technically produce a "high definition" output, but hi def is in the eye of the beholder- it can still look lousy if it isn't done right. Some people just look for a baseline sharpness jackup and think thats "hi def", some of us don't.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo /forum/post/18193074


I ran across some interesting financial data that might explain, in some small part, why no NEW Panasonic DVDRs in the U.S. since 2008 (EA18 and EZ28 models, >500 ea. currently available thru J&R alone).

Here's a 4-year Panasonic financial summary from 2006-2009 that shows their bottom line plummeted from a US $3B profit in 2008 to a US $4B LOSS in 2009.


Checking the "Cash Flow" stats, the "red ink" looks even worse and for a longer period, starting in 2007 (bad year for cash) and continuing thru 2009.


Funai has also seen yearly declines in DVD-related business but they're prob. going to end their FY (Mar 2010) with a ~US $1B net.

I think the dollar figures tell the story pretty well. Panasonic is not about to deal with a loss, so a few people like us in this forum can have nice toys. They will frequently stop a line that has limited profit, so imagine what they do with a large loss? I guess, that's why we have our choice of international models, or HDD-free models that are poorly designed.
 

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It's a shame that Panasonic doesn't make the HDD recorders anymore. I bought an EH-50 back in 2005 and have not had a problem with it yet. The first two years it was the only DVD recorder I had and it was used every day. Since then it is used at least every couple of days and I have never had a problem with it. You don't find quality like that very often. I also have had an EH-75 VCR/HDD combination one that is nearly 3 years old and it still works perfectly.
 

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They do for the non US market and it's possible to buy them as international products from grey market dealers like World Import etc. Click my sig for a few links. None of the international Panasonics will have a tuner for US use but can record a US signal just fine from it's line inputs.
 

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I just got back from shopping. Fry's had a couple EA18 models in stock and an EZ28 on display but no stock on the shelf. Best Buy had a couple EZ48 and EZ28 recorders in stock & on sale.
 
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