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Are We Being Ripped Off on HDTV's ?

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11 replies to this topic

#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Bill Will

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Posted May 30 2003 - 07:31 AM

It just crossed my mind when Sam's Club has the AKAI (Made by Samsung) Analog 30 inch widescreen set for under $500 how come the 30 inch HDTV from Samsung is around $1,000? You mean to tell me it costs TWICE as much for the HDTV circuits? & that's not including a HDTV Tuner. Anyone have any thoughts on this except their trying to recover their R&D as quickly as possible or are just being greedy?

#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Carl Johnson

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Posted May 30 2003 - 07:41 AM

You're not just paying for circuits, research and development on an HDTV is probably more than twice that on an analogue set. Samsung has probably been using the same formula to build analogue sets for 10+ years now but I'd assume it costs them more than twice as much to build an HD compatible set.

#3 of 12 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted May 30 2003 - 07:44 AM

AKAI does not equal Samsung (though they might be the same parent company). They have different price points for a reason. One must compare apples to apples etc.

Although it still is a good question, but the analog vs HD components vary the price substantially.



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#4 of 12 OFFLINE   Mike_A


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Posted May 30 2003 - 07:54 AM

the HD tube is the expensive part and that's obviously not included in the analog tv. first of all, it's not an interlaced display. second, SDTV analog TV's are fixed frequency, where as the HDTV has got to be able to scan at various frequencies for different ATSC HDTV modes (ie 480p vs 1080i in the case of the samsung since it doesn't handle 720p). Not to mention the addition of all the digital processing that's necessary with an HDTV.

the real question is how samsung can sell the 3245 EDTV for ~$300 less than the 3271/3275 HDTV version since 1080i can merely be turned on in the EDTV's service menu. In other words, these two TV's seem to have very similar tubes, and only slightly different (if at all) electronics.

if you don't know what i'm talking about, check outthis thread on hometheaterspot.com.

#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Bill Will

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Posted May 30 2003 - 08:26 AM

From what I understand the new Samsung ETV's & the HDTV's are using the exact same "new" tubes in them & as far as the Akai's 30 inch tube I was told that it's the exact same 30 inch tube that Samsung was using in last years 30 inch HDTV sets that were selling for $1,000 so it's not the tube that's costing the extra money. As for Samsung's ETV's being able to turn on "HDTV" that makes my point. Are we being ripped off?

#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted May 30 2003 - 08:34 AM

Plus, of the HDTV's I've looked at (Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic), they all do 480i to 480p conversion to make even "regular" broadcast TV look better. I don't believe that any analog TV does this. For me, this feature alone was worth the upgrade. My digital cable feed of the Sci Fi channel used to look worse than VCR quality; now, is much much better, along with "normal" analog channels too. I was kind of surprised how much this helps.
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#7 of 12 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool



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Posted May 30 2003 - 11:50 AM

I don't think we're getting ripped off. If anything, you are sorta ripping the TV makers off if/when you alter your non-HD TV to run in HD mode. I say sorta because it's all grey area stuff. Personally, I think it's ok as long as you're doing things responsibly and don't expect the manufacturer to fix your own mistakes or take on the risks when you run a non-HD TV as HD, which is an unauthorized thing to do.

Basically, I think the TV maker is just trying to streamline their production of TVs to save on design and manufacturing costs. They may or may not be making any significant money by selling the "crippled" TV as non-HD. The non-HD TVs are just being made and sold to help them maintain the kind of volume they need to help the production of the relatively small #'s of HDTVs w/ the same guts.

This practice is done in other industries too, including CPU manufacturing like how Intel produces such a wide range of CPUs based on the same couple CPU cores. All they do is turn on or off certain CPU features and set them for certain clock speeds, but otherwise, are the same couple chips.

Part of the idea usually involves QA for the higher end product. Their QA process might be sending entire batches of so-called substandard HD parts to be used by their non-HD TVs when such batches fail their (likely random) QA testing. A batch may fail the testing, but since it's random, many in that batch might actually still be good enough for HD use. This might be happening w/ Samsung's TV tubes. It's certainly what's done for CPUs in Intel's manufacturing process from what I understand.

So w/ these things in mind, who then is ripping whom off? Would you prefer that they kept design and manufacturing completely separate between non-HD and HD TV's, which would likely keep the HDTV's very expensive (like $2000 instead of $1000?) while not really lowering the prices of non-HD TV's?

BTW, I've been running my ancient, 1st generation 200MHz Celeron overclocked to 400Mhz for a few years now w/out a single hitch. Because Intel killed the L2 cache on those Celerons, which were really Pentium II's, it actually performs like a 333Mhz Pentium II. At the time, a 333Mhz PII would cost about 2x as much as the 200Mhz Celeron, ie. ~$400 vs ~$200, IIRC. Was Intel ripping people off by charging ~$600 for a PII/400 and ~$400 for a PII/333 while I could easily turn a ~$200 CPU w/ the ~$600 core into a ~$400 performer? I don't think so.

Also, the same thing is done w/ other computer parts like harddisk drives, etc.,...


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#8 of 12 OFFLINE   Bill Will

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Posted May 30 2003 - 12:42 PM

I'm not changing any tv's from EDTV's to HDTV's I just posted this question as food for thought and if people are turning EDTV's into HDTV's who could blame them for a $300 price difference. And it's hard to believe as I said above that an analog AKAI can sell for 1/2 of what the Samsung HDTV costs. Plus Samsung is at the bottom of the price scale on HDTV's so what are the other companies doing & what are they going to be charging for HDTV sets when they have to build the tunners in? Instead of prices going down on them they will probably stay around the same or cost more & the longer it takes for HDTV's to get to a price level that all consumers can afford them the longer it's going to take broadcasters & everything to want to give us "ALL" HDTV programming.

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted May 31 2003 - 03:51 AM

Pricing is subjective.

There are thousands of schools teaching business majors about the psychology of getting more of your money away from you.

There are several electronic devices that I know about that have nearly identical internals (or identical costing internals). But they are packaged differently to create a low, middle and high-end model.

Example: Pioneer Elite 501 HDTV. Sold for $5,000+ for 2 years. The third year, they took the same electronics and put it into a 'lower-end' model for $2,500, and changed some features to create the Elite 510 'high-end' model which now sold for $6,000.

Are you being ripped off? No. It's perceived-value. You pay what you think it's worth.

It's this way with MANY things. My advice is to not worry about it. Or whenever you look at your equipment, you will have buyers-doubt. Buy what has the features you can afford and dont-look-back or compare to the next models.

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Bill Will

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Posted May 31 2003 - 04:19 AM

So Bob where are the "low-priced" HDTV's? Beside Samsung's 27" HDTV. I hate to say it but maybe we need China to start shipping us $400 HDTV's to get the prices down just like they did with DVD Players. If it wasn't for them we would probably be paying $300 for DVD Players not $99 for a new Panasonic.

#11 of 12 OFFLINE   Mike_A


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Posted May 31 2003 - 05:34 AM

i'm fairly certain the Akai does not use the same tube as the widescreen HD samsungs. if it did, chances are that a service menu would be able to turn on the HD option, just like with the samsung EDTV's. Further, there's a reason all HDTV's upconvert 480i to 480p - i don't think any of them are CAPABLE of displaying an interlaced image, much like many of today's computer monitors. of course, since the Akai does, it's gotta be a different tube.

oh and btw, i'm not complaining at all about samsung selling EDTV's that can be "hacked" to be HD compatible. In fact, i'm highly considering getting one after i move next year Posted Image. That $300 can go towards a new receiver, dvd player, HD tuner, speakers, ISF calibration, or whatever else i may think of between now and then Posted Image

#12 of 12 OFFLINE   Mike_A


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Posted May 31 2003 - 05:36 AM

oh and one more thing, i think Man-Fai Wong's explanation of why this is happening is the most accurate.