In the high-definition wars, Sony has been pegged as the ultimate Ebenezer Scrooge. Not only did the company's Blu-ray format destroy the cost-conscious HD-DVD format, but for a long while, Sony tried to keep the MSRP of Blu-ray players above $300. But is the perception of inflated Blu-ray player pricing really fair to begin with?
The Wall Street Journal has put together some interesting data that might have you rethinking Blu-ray's price model since its inception. When DVD players first launched over a decade ago, early adopters paid around $840. Compare that with the $800 initial price point of Blu-ray players in 2006. Here's how the rest of the price comparison breaks down through the years following each respective format's launch:
Year 1: DVD ($571), Blu-ray ($497)
Year 2: DVD ($467), Blu-ray ($388)
Year 3: DVD: ($345), Blu-ray ($322)
Black Friday: ($248), Blu-ray ($221)
Keep in mind that there's an 8-year difference between the two formats, and none of those numbers take into account inflation. In short, Blu-ray player pricing has fallen faster than DVDs, and certainly faster than most people expected.
"There's no season in the DVD saga that saw players come down like this," says Rick Doherty, an analyst at Envisioning Group, a market research firm.
Even heavily discounted promotional pricing hasn't been enough to convince some would-be consumers to pick up an Upgrade copy of Windows 7, which requires a validated OS already be installed. You could suck it up and pay retail, or wait for OEM copies to emerge and save a bit of scratch, but until now, nobody knew exactly how much you could expect to pocket.
Compare those prices to $200 for the retail version of Home Premium, $300 for Professional, and $320 for Ultimate. And if you pre-order before October 20, Newegg's offering a further discount on OEM copies, with Home Premium priced at $100, Professional at $135, and Ultimate at $175.
Some caveats apply. Keep in mind that OEM copies are technically tied to the PC they were originally installed on, and while we've had some luck porting OEM installs from one machine (or mobo) to another with a quick call to Microsoft, nobody knows how this will shake out with Windows 7.
OEM copies also ship sans support, you won't get the shiny retail packaging, and you can only perform a clean install.
Thoughs on the price points? Hit the jump and sound off.
As the upgrade version of Windows 7 is unavailable in Europe, Microsoft is offering the full version for the price one expects to pay for the upgrade version. The price at which the full version is currently available in Europe has had everyone wondering how long it will last. Last week, an Amazon spokesperson told Cnet.co.uk to “treat this pricing as indefinite.” But when it comes to Windows 7 pricing, what Amazon says is of very little import compared to official word from Microsoft.
Microsoft has also announced that the Windows 7 Family Pack will also be available in eight European countries – apart from US and Canada- for a limited span of time. The eight European countries to have been promised a family pack option are UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The announcement of a Windows 7 family pack should have come to much applause, but instead Microsoft faced an angry mob of customers who were worried that they overpaid when ordering multiple copies during the pre order promotion. If you count yourself among this crowd, it’s time to pack away the pitchforks since the pricing falls very much in line with what you would have paid for three copies anyway.
Windows 7 Home Premium family packs will retail for a very reasonable $149, but it now stands in stark contrast to the individual upgrade price of $119. I think most people would agree that the new family pack pricing is a pleasant surprise, but who would buy an individual upgrade copy when for only $30 more you can get 3? I suppose if you only have one PC this makes sense, but it still seems somewhat disproportionate.
Windows Anytime Upgrade pricing has also been revealed which allows users to pay for the option of “stepping up” to a higher product edition. Moving from Windows 7 Starter to Home Premium will run you $79.99, while the move from Home Premium to Professional will set you back $89.99.If you find you need more, you can also make the jump from Windows 7 Professional to Ultimate for a cost of $139.99. The equivalent upgrades in Vista were about 12% higher, continuing the trend of lowering the cost of Windows for consumers.
While for some of us, the pricing for Windows 7 is easy on the wallet thanks to the OEM solution, there are others that aren’t too happy due to the retail prices.
According to a recent study by The NPD Group’s VP of industry analysis Stephen Baker, the mostly free upgrade program for PCs bought on or after June 26, 2009 is extremely commendable, but the retail pricing is a bad idea, especially in today’s economy. “Besides the fact that $119 is a price point that fits nowhere in these economic times, it is still way too much for the software,” stated Baker. “… It is in Microsoft’s best interests to erase all vestiges of Vista from consumers’ homes, and by making the upgrade expensive … Microsoft is creating a large disincentive for consumers to move to a far superior platform with a better user experience.”
So what do you think? Is the pricing for Windows 7 too rough on the pocketbook, or is the pricing just fine the way it is?
Much to the chagrin of memory makers (and delight of consumers), DRAM contract prices have remained static in the second half of June, but that's getting ready to change. Memory makers expect supply to tighten up in July as more orders continue to come in following stronger demand from PC makers.
Looking longer term, industry sources indicate contract prices for DRAM chips have started showing signs of a rebound and should continue to improve for the rest of the year. Furthermore, the price gap between branded finished memory chips and eTT (effective tested) chips is expected to widen significantly in the second half of 2009, DigiTimes reports.
If you've been putting off that memory upgrade, now might be a good time to pull the trigger.
Microsoft yesterday announced retail pricing for Windows 7. The good news is it will be the same or cheaper than Windows Vista, however this only applies from Friday until July 11, less than a month from now. During that time, upgrade copies of Windows 7 Home Premium will run $49, while Windows 7 Professional will cost $99.
"That truly is a price that we have never even come close to in terms of an operating system release," Corporate Vice President Brad Brooks said. "We've still got a business to run."
When the OS ships in October, boxed copy prices will break down as follows:
Home Premium (Upgrade) - $119
Professional (Upgrade) - $199
Ultimate (Upgrade) - $219
Home Premium (Full) - $199
Professional (Full) - $299
Ultimate (Full) - $319
That puts Home Premium at a lower price point than the Vista equivalent, which sells for $239, and both Ultimate and Professional on par with each one's Vista counterpart.
Getting back to the pre-release upgrade pricing, Microsoft will only be selling a limited number of copies, though that number is unknown. These will be available at Amazon, Best Buy, Microsoft's own store, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Costco, Staples, Wal-Mart, and a bunch of other retailers, CNet reports.
Hit the jump and tell us what you think about Windows 7's price points.
Tough times for memory chip makers continue, but relief may soon be coming, if not for just a short period of time. According to Simon Chen, chairmen of A-Data Technology, DRAM prices have a very good chance of returning to cost levels in the third quarter of 2009, DigiTimes reports.
The comments came during the Computex Taipei trade show, in which A-Data has been showing off new memory products, including overclocked DDR3 memory kits and SSDs. However, Chen did caution that while pricing may soon go up, a full recovery isn't likely to take place until 2010. Contract pricing for June will be a telltale sign of things to come, Chen said, and DRAM chip makers would be wise to closely monitor and control their inventory.