A technology blog for The Economist Group IT team

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Walking into Comet (Electrical superstore whose 3 year insurance policies sometimes cost more than the items themselves) this weekend to pick up a broken tv remote after the kids decided to play tonka toy with it on the wooden floors , I was amazed to see 42 inch plasma screens come down so much in price. A LG plasma 42 inch was retailing at £1599, and for much the same I saw a Sony 42 inch plasma for £2699. Two things struck me
(1) How cheap plasma has become, and how the Korean companies like LG and Samsung are really driving down the prices for them
(2) The price differential between the 2 sets I describe above. (Almost £1100 difference).

My initial thought was "am I paying £1100 extra for the Sony brand or is there a real techincal difference between the 2 sets". After some investigation I realised that though the Sony did have some cool features I would never use them in my family home. In fact, turning the tv on and then watching it on a big screen with some great clarity and refresh rates is all one needs unless they are in the video editing or film production industry. To that effect, the LG 42 inch plasma is sufficient and to boot you save yourself £1100.

I think brand premium is possibly going to die a death in the consumer electronics word, as the manufacturers are all outsourcing the production of most of the items and thus the same components could be found in most products. The consumers are becoming more savvy in choosing "appropriate" electronics for their needs rather than going all out for the best that they can buy.

What I think is happening is that as product prices are coming down we are going to see an increase in prices for "services". As John Brennan (colleague) says "wait until they start giving away DVD players when you buy a DVD.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
I'm not sure that brand premium will die a death, but hitherto less well known brands are certainly making an impression. LG have had a big marketing push of the past few years and they are now a pretty well known brand. There's an article in The Economist this week about this with reference to Samsung.
Does anyone know why post was removed ?? It was just factual about my own TV ??? Weird !
Are we being censored???
Paranoia reigns.
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