Sony is kind of a pain both for dealers and customers. The unwritten rule is none of the dealers are permitted to advertise a regular price that is less than 80% of the MSRP of just below $8000. Thus when you look on the web you see everybody is at about $6500 list price. You can actually buy this projector for less than $5000. This rule is unwritten because it may actually be illegal in some places - it sure isn't pure capitalism!
A friend clued me into Sony's tactics when I was shopping for a Wega direct-view set last year. Any dealer that violates their unwritten rule will find they have a lower priority when Sony fills orders for hot new models such as the VPL-VW10HT or Wega. Any time the Sony production lags behind the demand for product, only the full price dealers have anything to sell. In this fashion Sony maintains the phony facade of premium price and quality they have always had associated with their products.
Sony was my favorite brand for over 20 years. Now I hold this policy against them and have found that other vendors offer the same or better features at a lower price point. Unfortunately, the projector model you want has no direct competition, for the next few months. However since there are plenty of these Sony projectors around, you need to shop directly with various dealers.
Personally I consider any two prices within about 10% to be comparable, and then check into exchange policies and restocking fees and the dealer's service reputation, on the web. The VPL-VW10HT has not got a reputation for perfect quality out of the box, and if your dealer charges you a restocking fee because you are unhappy with the number or location of the "stuck on" pixels, it probably wipes out a lot of the low price advantage you thought you were getting. A lot of people have reported exchanging this projector twice before being satisfied. Caveat Emptor.
"This rule is unwritten because it may actually be illegal in some places - it sure isn't pure capitalism!"
It's not illegal, and there's nothing anti-capitalistic about it. There are very good reasons which have been discussed at length here before as to why manufacturers have the right to exercise some control over the advertising and distribution of the products they create. That's why virtually all of the widely distributed MAJOR manufacturers of audio and video consumer electronics have some sort of pricing structure. That's the real world, and it's of real benefit for manufacturers and dealers who have property rights, just as we all do. Consumers who don't like the prices asked, are free to go elsewhere.
It's an issue not limited to these industries, of course. Nobody seems to have a problem that McDonalds' prices are virtually the same throughout the country.
It's only audio/video dealers who are begrudged a profit on this and other forums. It's been my general experience that people (this is NOT a reference to you) who most often complain about others making a profit, really can't afford what their hearts' desire, and are being intellectually dishonest.
If by pure capitalism Gary is referring to the theoretical establishment of perfect competition, then I'm afraid he is correct. Perfect competition requires unfettered information. An external constraint (sony) to publishing pricing information would definately qualify as a restriction on information to consumers making decisions. Of course there is really no such thing as perfect competition.
I don't know the laws of all 50 states, so I have no guess on the legal question.
How does being interested in the actual pricing offered by some dealers become the same as begrudging other vendors a living? MVS has been one of Sony's best retailers for home theater video, and Sony slapped them in the face when the 10HT was first introduced and in short supply. If they did so because other dealers were complaining at MVS' aggressive pricing than that speaks poorly for both Sony and the complaining dealers.
Most people can't afford their heart's desire, but trying to purchase an object of desire at the lowest price price possible doesn't make a person intellectually dishonest. There are risks associated with blindly buying solely on price, and there are risks associated with buying solely on "service". I don't mind if my local B&M guys make a profit, and I don't mind if the internet guys make a living either. Having only one category of retailer doesn't meet the needs of the HT market and isn't to any consumer's benefit.
By the way, the McDonalds prices I saw in Manhatten last year were more than 30% higher than the prices I pay in the semi-rural midwest, so I can't agree to that point either.
You've missed the point which was GaryMcCoy's claim that this otherwise legitimate practice, is anti-capitalistic. You also missed my point about A/V dealers being trashed for daring to make a profit, which was that it is fashionable on internet forums to hammer retailers for sticking to MAP or MSRP.
I did not say that ALL McDonald's franchises have precisely the same pricing, but that for all practical purposes (i.e. "virtually"), that is the case. Indeed, Manhattan (note the spelling) because of its astronomical retail rents is the exception that proves the rule. So, while you're correct that McDonalds franchises in Manhattan tend to have higher prices than in other parts of the country (they have home delivery service, too, another characteristic that you're unlikely to find in most other regions), the prices at the many dozens of McDonalds locations WITHIN Manhattan are just about the same. Hmmm.
Finally, you also missed the point regarding intellectual dishonesty which was that many people want what they can't afford, so they blame the retailer for adding what they consider to be too much profit to his wholesale cost, which is his right, and indeed, a necessity.
And now, as the say on Fox News, we'll let the audience decide.
[This message has been edited by PF (edited 04-26-2001).]
If you read Gary's statement, he doesn't say that the practice is anti-capitalistic as you contend again, but instead that "it sure isn't pure capitalism". I won't bother repeating why that's accurate. He may have meant what you infer, but that's not what he said.
Oops on the spelling of Manhattan http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif . I hope you'll also excuse me not getting your point on intra region Mickey Dee's pricing--your original post seems to be comparing them across the country. Not convinced this analogy rings true, but unwilling to pursue it further.
There are those who are overly critical of dealers and lump them all together because of individual bad experiences. I think making a profit is a good thing, but I've also seen B&M dealers on these forums hammer other dealers over not sticking to MAP or MSRP.
I'm not into analyzing dealer margins, and I don't blame dealers for being sensitive when this occurs. It's not fair to blame dealers when a consumer can't afford an item, but it's also not fair to blame consumers for being ticked off when a dealer attempts to interfere with them getting a better offer from a competing dealer. No one should be begrudged a profit, nor should one expect to be guaranteed a profit. Competition is good. Interference with competition is typically bad for consumers. Manufacturers or retailers who try to prevent consumers from getting more price choices should be prepared for criticism.
Most all manufacturers have a MAP (minimum advertised pricing) policy. It's common in the A/V world, the computer world and electronics in general.
The reason resellers are careful not to violate the policy is that it directly impacts their co-op advertising funds. These policies are almost always written, they are not anti-capitalistic, they are just business. No one forces a dealer to carry any product.
The existing VW10HT, which suffers from serious lack of black level,has been obsoleted by both Sanyo and Sony. I suggest you either go with the Sanyo 60PLV now or wait a few weeks for the Sony release. It appears the new 10HT will be priced similar to the old one. If you still want the old one, you'll be able to get it for a lot less when the new one is released.
If you want the new one, well as you've seen, there's very little wiggle room in Sony pricing. But I expect a whole lot more price cutting in a few months with so many new generation DLP and LCD products entering the market. The level of competition in the HTFP field is going up exponentially. Hurrah!
If Sony carry the existing 10HT design philosophy over to the new unit, one of the big advantages of the Sony over Sanyo is likely to be superior internal electronics, hence much better plug and play capability. There seems to be a general conclusion around here that the Sanyo needs an external scaler to perform well.
the price should not be a high criteria. I owned a Sony 10HT about one year ago, I gave it back for technical issues (many dead pixels etc.). In these days I saw 4 10HTs very close, 3 of 4 had big problems.
This is one year ago, perhaps they improved the quality, but I would never buy a 10HT at the cheapest point. Have an eye to service ans special warranties, too.
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