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 Price of HDTV Falls From 'Yikes!' Level


Another sign that HDTV may be starting to go mainstream: At HDTV-enthusiast Web sites, moderators are starting to notice a difference in the types of folks logging on.


"Up until six to 12 months ago, most of the people were hobbyists and early adopters, like in the old days when people were really into ham radio or hi-fi," said Ken Holsgrove, a moderator at the AVS Forum site. These days, he said, a lot more people don't care about the finer points of technology and just talk about which shows to watch.


Alexandria resident Mike Ferrara hasn't gotten the benefit of any of these price cuts. He shelled out around $10,000 for a digital TV in 1998, when WETA was just about the only HDTV broadcaster in the area. But he says he has no regrets about the expenditure: Now he's got a pick of shows to watch every night, between CBS's over-the-air content and HBO and Showtime via his Dish Network receiver.


Ferrara had some friends over a while back to watch a Bruce Springsteen concert on HBO. "It was like sitting in the front row of Madison Square Garden -- I almost charged admission," he said.


He figures he's been responsible for the sale of at least half a dozen of the high-end TVs over the years to friends and colleagues who have seen his setup and found themselves reaching for their wallets.


"Once you see it, you want it. Period," he said.
 

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I read the article. Below $2,000 for an HDTV.


I'd like to know their definition of "Yikes". Practically everyone in my family wouldn't spend more than $500 for a television set. I think prices are going to have to drop a hell of a lot more before HDTV becomes more mainstream.


Hey Hardrock, I miss your tail-shaking avatar :D
 

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"Practically everyone in my family wouldn't spend more than $500 for a television set. I think prices are going to have to drop a hell of a lot more before HDTV becomes more mainstream."


Perhaps, but that's not typical. A very large number of American families will pay over $1000 for their "main" tv set. In fact, I remember reading that 60% of the "big screen" tvs are sold to family units with less than $30k per year in income.


Unfortunately, I can no longer offer attribution for this quote, but based on individuals that I personally know, I don't find it at all surprising. That doesn't say that these individuals have $10k plasma displays, but they are RPTVs of over 40".
 

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Well, I paid over $3,000 for my HDTV, so I'm not one of those that isn't willing to shell out some big bucks for my magic box that will be my friend and entertain me 24 hours a day regardless of how nasty I get ;)


Your numbers are interesting, I had no idea big screens were that popular. They always looked fuzzy to me, until the digital models came out. Then I had to have one.


And you're right, my family isn't typical :p


But paying $2,000 for a 60" big screen (analog) and paying $2,000 for a 34" digital direct view are different things. I don't know that the 27"-34" crowd are prepared to shell out that kind of money just yet. I honestly hope so, but then time will tell.
 

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Moderator hat on.


I deleted a few off-topic comments. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
 

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Based on my personal experience, I dont think its so much a question of money as priorities. TV is not a priority for a lot of educated, well off people bc they have so many more sources of entertainment they can afford than the

Here in NYC I am surrounded by rich Wall Street bankers who spend $$$s on Italian suits, Cartier watches, Hermes bags etc but none of them own HDTVs bc TV is not an imp part of their lives. They go out every night. Once they get married and move to the burbs they spend their free time with their families.


My parents and aunts/uncles are mostly doctors who live in the burbs. Only 2 of them own RPTVs. They dont even know what HDTV is and rarely have time to watch their RPTVs.


IMHO, these people will only buy HDTVs once they become mainstream and easy to setup (unlike now when it has to be a fulltime hobby) and once they see how great it is.


I do my part by throwing parties and demoing my TV. Usually, the husbands are Oohing and Aahing and the wives go "Its too big."
 

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Quote:
the wives go "Its too big."
Don't we all wish our wives would say that ;)


Seriously, my experience has been that the husbands ooh and aww and the wives say "Its too expensive". My brother told me he'd love to have a big screen tv like mine, but if he ever brought one home his wife would make sure he'd never be able to reproduce again.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Randy Boecker
But paying $2,000 for a 60" big screen (analog) and paying $2,000 for a 34" digital direct view are different things. I don't know that the 27"-34" crowd are prepared to shell out that kind of money just yet. I honestly hope so, but then time will tell.
There are 46" and 47" HD RPTVs that are very close to $2000 (especially on sale) now. I'd say that when the sale prices on those get down to $1400, you might see a significant number of people jumping on board--maybe enough to achieve 10% or better market penetration of HDTV. But then, what do I know? I'm just an embedded systems software (i.e., firmware) engineer, not a marketing expert.


-- Mike Scott
 

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My aunt & uncle just recently purchased a new Sony 32" 4:3 analog TV. They are two of the most technophobic people I know. They asked me to come and hook up their cable and satellite because they had no clue how to do it. I asked them how much they spent: $1400. I was amazed. Even though this was not a HDTV, that they were willing to spend that amount on a TV was a surprise. My point is this, this $500 figure that has been mentioned for the price of TV's is not realistic. People will spend much more than that if it provides something they want;better picture etc.


If my relatives(education level is 6th grade) were willing to fork over $1400 for a TV- the price gap has narrowed considerably.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Randy Boecker



My brother told me he'd love to have a big screen tv like mine, but if he ever brought one home his wife would make sure he'd never be able to reproduce again.
Hmmm... seems like a reasonable compromise to me.
 

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Elsyed makes a lot of sense, it isn't so much the cost with some folks, before retirement, knowing income would be much less I needed to have a hobby that would be affordable but interesting,

compared to travel, daily golf, boating, etc. home theatre delivers a lot of bang for the buck including year round 24/7 usage no matter what the weather.


So by buying in increments and learning as you go, it can be enjoyed from the start and when one gets into tweaking, installing dishes, etc, very enjoyable time consuming pastime.


When friends come by no matter what their income, they seem to totally enjoy the experience and start asking a lot questions so planting the seeds for future home theatre becomes a very real

possibility. Seeing is believing and word of mouth is still powerful

marketing.


Bottom line, when looking at costs compared to return it beats most forms of entertainment.
 

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"I'm just an embedded systems software (i.e., firmware) engineer, not a marketing expert."


IMO, that's a good thing. Nothing is lower than a marketing executive - not lawyers or even used-car salesmen. Having your entire profession based on twisting words to deliberately deceive customers has a lot to do with it - "You can't buy a stronger pain-reliever than X". Of course, since the FDA regulates the concentration of pain-relievers in over-the-counter remedies, you can't buy a weaker pain-reliever either, but that last phrase doesn't do well for the perceived impact.


As if further proof were needed, the recent crop of advertisements that use the tradegy of the WTC attack to sell products is downright despicable. It's just too bad that the first amendment applies to commercial speech as well as individual and political speech.
 

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Quote:
Nothing is lower than a marketing executive
I don't really think statements like this need to be expressed here. It's a broad generalization that can only serve to offend.


I'm not a marketing executive, either, but it's not difficult to realize that certain marketers are just a small portion of the people out there who twist words in ways that put themselves, their businesses and their products in the best possible light.


Anyway, I don't think it's the marketing people that make the final decisions with the "information" presented in a company's advertising.
 

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I enjoyed talking to the Mike from the Post. Frankly, I was amazed that he knew very little about HDTV (and he readily admitted it).


I've been watching some form of HDTV for almost 4 years, and I guess I spend way to much time in these danged HT forums because I now assume that most folks know something about HDTV - and you know what, THEY DON'T!


The ignorance is breathtaking. What is CEA doing to educate the consumer? Very little it seems. The general press is ignorant, and the most bothersome statistic is the pathetic sales of HD recievers compared to widescreen digital sets. Lots of blame to go around, I guess.
 

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Definitely a good article, thanks for the link.


It kind of sums it all up for me. I have been dreaming of "The Big Screen" for over a year, and I have seen the steady decline in $$$. Since I finally took the plunge, I have been trying to sell friends and relatives on the idea. When they see it, they want one.


While I haven't convinced anyone yet, I have managed to convince several to back out of buying the $1500 36 inch analog TV's and hold on a little while longer to get a DTV set for a similar price soon. By simply expalining the basics to them, they understand that this seems to make more sense. If we could only get the sales force at the superstores to educate themselves I'm sure many more could be convinced now that prices are falling.


I would have to agree that $1000 - $1500 sounds expensive for a TV, but there is a much larger audience in this market than I had previously thought. Now if we could just get STB's to drop in $$$.
 

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I don't think it is as much price as it is complexity.


When people see HDTV at my house they all want it. However, when they start to see all the different components and the "tweaking" that is required, most get scared.


When it becomes simple enough to buy a TV, bring it home and just plug in a few things, then it will be mainstream.


I can tell you if not for this forum and a few others, I think I might have given up before I got it all working well.


George
 

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The largest local TV outlet (frys) shows all the TVs, standard and high def, fed from the same

low def picture source.

At other times, they have DVDs running several

sets.

Listening to others talking about the dozens of

sets on display, I hear people talking about

the "wide sets". Rarely does the subject of

HDTV come up.

I suspect it is likely that many folks buying

HDTV sets have no real idea what that means.

Certainly some use it to display DVDs in correct

aspect mode. There are probally many HDTV

capable 4:3 sets whose owners have never seen any

enhanced definition material on them.

This is what the NEA figures bear out.

What I conclude from this is that HDTV will shortly be a "checkpoint" on the set feature list,

and "analog" (SDTVs) will cease to exist, because

it will be cheaper just to produce one kind of set

for all uses. The only real difference the public

will understand is "wide vs. normal".
 

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"Wide" definitely is the feature difference that is apparent despite what the particular store might do or not do to highlight HDTV. However, I have personally seen most major outlets selling HDTVs show them with HD content (yes, even our local Frys). It isn't always that way, as you will many times go into a Sears (or Frys) and see "DVD over composite" pictures, or worst-yet, a grainy NTSC OTA signal.


What this hurts is those folks who just happen to drop by at that time to "see what this HDTV thing is all about". What they might see is a picture worse than they get at home, stretched, and biggee-sized. What you would hope they see is a beautific nature film or sports in full HDTV glory.


Retail stores need to maintain stricter "quality control" on this, realizing that they are going for the "wow" factor in selling these sets. If someone happens to switch to OTA to see what it looks like be there quickly to show the display modes available, and make sure you have a decent OTA signal. In all other cases switch back to the HD content. Something pre-prepared would be best, since besides HDNet you can't count on what quality you will get.
 
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