business

Sony, Panasonic cling to TVs, betting on halo effect of premium sets

26 Comments
By Ritsuko Ando and Reiji Murai

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26 Comments
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It's content, not the hardware. I just love watching idiot TV programs on a cool HDTV.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japanese electronics makers should have gotten out of the consummer product business a decade ago. They can't compete with cheap China and, in the future, India and SE Asia. They should concentrate on advanced materials and circuitry, which only they can produce. Find a niche and keep it. Sony produces mainly consummer products, so they are in trouble long term.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

TVs are just "dumb pipes". What is important are the STBs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

History repeats. 50 years ago huge European and American consumer electronics companies lost their share fo the TV production market to Japan, which produced cheaper products, which were also better. Now Japan has lost market share to Korea.

Like Japan, Korea built up market share by selling on price. Japanese products were first considered cheap and unreliable. It did not take that long to build up a reputation for quality. Korea has now done that. People used to buy Korean TVs because they were cheaper. As I found out on my last return to Britain, they now buy them because they are better.

Japan is losing the TV market. The automobile market is next. I recently read that Korean cars a survey found Korean cars more reliable than Japanese ones.

Unfortunately, most Japanese do not realise this. How often do you see a Samsung TV or Hyundai car in Japan? They still think Japan rules. They are wrong.

These companies must change to survive. They may still do well in Japan, but they need to get back into the world market or fail.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Question: What will happen if all the Japanese companies stopped making TV's?

Answer: Japanese will stop watching TV's.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Proud owner of a Korean TV. Twice as big, half the cost.. When we went in the store to look at the display model, it was in the corner and not even turned on. Looking at reviews from outside Japan our LG TV had far better reviews than ANY of the Japanese TVs the store was trying to push. Before this I have owned 3 Sony TVs. Now I would not touch one with a ten foot pole.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Sony, Panasonic cling to TVs, betting on halo effect of premium sets.

Has the mangement of either of these companies been to the U.S. in the past five years or so? Neither brand has any "halo effect" -- especially among millenials, who are too young to remember either one's hey days.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Having dealt with enough failed Samsung and LG TV and Monitor units at work well within the warranty period and getting nothing but the round-around from their tech department and warranty coverage, I WOULD NEVER BUY A KOREAN TV until they change their way of dealing with customers. Their last 12 years of business with companies I've worked for has always been to always start with the approach that the customer must have done something wrong and therefore it's not covered by warranty. Great way to instill a sense of crappy customer service especially since EVERYONE of those claims I made at work were in the end determined to have been manufacturing defects.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I don't know much about the quality difference but I find that Samsung TVs are generally much more stylish than Japanese designs. They use metal and chrome where Japanese companies like Sony are still mainly using plastic. Of course now the Japanese have started copying this to some extent.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Unfortunately, most Japanese do not realise this. How often do you see a Samsung TV or Hyundai car in Japan? >They still think Japan rules. They are wrong.

Japan is the most captive market I've ever seen. It's really pretty ridiculous how the population seems totally oblivious to alternative products.

It's the same with high-performance car parts. US parts made for Japanese cars deliver similar performance/reliability at noticeably lower prices. Americans buy and stress-test American, Chinese, AND Japanese parts on probably more Japanese performance cars than there are in Japan. So we know what works and what doesn't.

But you'll never see a Forced Performance or Precision-branded turbo on a JDM car. The people here are too busy getting raked over the coals buying domestic stuff from Japan Inc.

I like to say: "The greatest enemy of the Japanese people is the Japanese corporation."

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I've had both samsung and LG TVs that both crapped out well before the warranty ended and got less than pitiful customer service from both. Then, I got a fantastic SONY BRAVIA 4K TV. I once also had a Hyundai junk car for about a year. Never again. Yes, they are less expensive initially, but in the long run it's like flushing that money down the porcelain throne.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@gaijintraveller "a survey found Korean cars more reliable"

An American or Korean survey, right ? I will never change Japanese-made TVs or JDM car to Korean ones. I prefer to trust my experience rather than any "survey".

1 ( +6 / -5 )

"South Korean leaders Samsung and LG Electronics Inc together hold about 40%."

Ouch! That's gotta hurt.

yamashi: "I prefer to trust my experience rather than any "survey"."

You mean 'brain-washing'. You've probably never bought any of the other products because you base your experience on a lack of trust, plain and simple. As was mentioned above, it may have been price over quality that lost Japan the market -- and sorry, it's lost! -- but now the quality of other nations products is as good or better, and Japan can't keep up. The only reason Panasonic and Sony haven't already gone under, like Sharp and other nations that need to be bought out and/or bailed out, merged, etc., is because the companies literally FORCE their employees and their families to buy that product; and this is Japan-wide for Japan products, with protectionist barriers.

These companies need to focus on other products and forget about TVs. The don't have the numbers, and without the quality to boot they can never expect to catch up with jacked up prices.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The reason why Sony and Panasonic are still sticking to TV's is the arrival of Ultra HD video.

Note that Netflix is already streaming Ultra HD video to customers with wide enough Internet bandwidth here in the USA, and many expect other streaming services--notably Amazon Prime Instant Video--to follow suit. Also, Blu-ray Disc Association recently finalized their Ultra HD disc standard, with players coming late this fall. And the FCC may finally approve the ATSC 3.0 standard for Ultra HD broadcasting some time in 2016.

As such, Sony and Panasonic aren't going to be sitting idly by when Ultra HD becomes widely available from streaming, disc playback and over-the-air/cable/satellite broadcasting by 2017.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

History repeats. 50 years ago huge European and American consumer electronics companies lost their share fo the TV production market to Japan, which produced cheaper products, which were also better. Now Japan has lost market share to Korea. Like Japan, Korea built up market share by selling on price. Japanese products were first considered cheap and unreliable. It did not take that long to build up a reputation for quality. Korea has now done that. People used to buy Korean TVs because they were cheaper. As I found out on my last return to Britain, they now buy them because they are better. Japan is losing the TV market. The automobile market is next. I recently read that Korean cars a survey found Korean cars more reliable than Japanese ones. Unfortunately, most Japanese do not realise this. How often do you see a Samsung TV or Hyundai car in Japan? They still think Japan rules. They are wrong. These companies must change to survive. They may still do well in Japan, but they need to get back into the world market or fail. you are right and wrong gajintraveller. look at it this way. are american cars still selling? then so will the great toyota or honda. japanese corporates have proggressed in different strategy like panasonic with indoor tower farms. water threatment technology is another one known from japan success. then the phone markets started doing good from sony. there are certainly new strategies needed but abandoning the old ones would make the company loose once upon a time their opportunity. as far as i know many ppl in canada see sumsang tv cheap but not qualitized. sony and panasonic win the quality war, but ppl wont spend much as sumsang is selling more due to cheapness. but u are right that starting cheap could lead to a new quality success

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@smithinjapan "You mean 'brain-washing'. You have probably never bought any of the other products"

...made in Republic of Korea, right? Years ago I tested first commercial VCRs of Gold Star and Samsung. The devices were direct copies of Japanese-built videocassette recorders and contained microchips with label "made in Japan". The same is for TVsets. SONY produced flat-screen CRTs and later Korean manufacturers borrowed the technology. And so on. As for cars, even design of Korean-built autos look out much worse than Japanese ones.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@yamashi i have panasonic tv and samsung tv, both same size, both the same capability. but the sound quality and the images on the panasonic tv is better. the panasonic tv is also more expensive but it has brought any problems. the samsung tv have had a few hd problems. im not the only one saying this. all my friends have been the same situation. another thing to point out for u is that the technology that gets borrowed by countries like india and china, are slightly inexperienced. south korea is not as much as the same but follows the same story. true china, south korea and india can copy our products but they havent lived through the problems that come along.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Remember that Korean and Chinese electronic devices (TV etc) are crammed with Japanese high end circuitry and materials, that only Japanese companies can make. Samsung's largest overseas research facility is a huge campus in Yokohama, staffed by Japanese engineers. The Japanese electronics (or car etc) industries are by no means down (maybe except Sony, which is almost all consumer electronics).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

yamashi: If you think Japan hasn't 'borrowed' information/tech from South Korea you're kidding yourself. And now Japan copies companies like Apple and Samsung constantly with smartphone and tablet devices but cannot compete. So what? Do you think Japan invented the automobile? but I bet you believe Japanese cars to be the best in the world, don't you? I do, but that doesn't mean they invented the car. So you can't hold Japanese cars and tech in such high regard when you deride other nations' technology as 'stolen ideas' from Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@smithinjapan "So what? Do you think Japan invented automobile?"

Japan takes raw idea, invests brains and money, getting a perfect machine. After Japanese, there is almost nothing to improve further. And Koreans borrow the final idea, trying to make a copy. That is how it works. Regarding autos, do you familiar with Mazda RX-7 ? The initial idea to build automobile equipped by Wankel engine belonged to German engineers. But they were unable to overcome certain technical problems. Then Japanese bought the concept, making a perfect car as result. No offence, but hardly Koreans could do anything like this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@yamashi

After Japanese, there is almost nothing to improve further.... Then Japanese bought the concept, making a perfect car as result.

And here you betray your inherent pro-Japanese bias. I think the FD RX-7 is a timeless design, probably one of the sexiest coupes ever made and a very good chassis structurally. But it's far from perfect.

Wankels are notoriously unreliable. The closest thing to a "perfect" RX-7 is one with an General Motors Overhead Valve V8 engine. Nearly the same center of balance as the wankel-equipped car, but with significantly more power, better throttle response, easier maintenance, and less complexity (no need for turbos).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@smith: Do you homework before discussion please. The Sony-Ericsson P900 series PDAs were popular among professionals long long before crApple or Samsung. They failed to market these devices to ordinary consumers. Apple did a good job to advertise, I give them that, but they didn't bring anything new to the table. Same goes for Samsung, most of their phones prior to 2007 were direct copies of the Japanese counterparts.

Now on to cars. Japan did not invent cars, it improved them. Japanese cars are reliable and inexpensive, that's why they are so popular around the world. Yet there are fun JDM cars as well. No one can argue against an NSX or S2000.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

...made in Republic of Korea, right? Years ago I tested first commercial VCRs of Gold Star and Samsung. The devices were direct copies of Japanese-built videocassette recorders and contained microchips with label "made in Japan". The same is for TVsets. SONY produced flat-screen CRTs and later Korean manufacturers borrowed the technology. And so on. As for cars, even design of Korean-built autos look out much worse than Japanese ones.

Flat screen CRT's? Can you come out of the 1990's slumber and into the 2010's? It's ironic but Japan missed the digital LCD wave in the late 1990's and early 2000's, stubborn to hang onto their Trinitron CRT screens, thinking just like you, everyone will buy Sony and Panasonic just because they are Japanese. By 2004, Sony threw in the towel and partnered with Samsung to get Samsung's LCD screens to rebrand as Sony display panels and TV's.

Reading all the posts in this forum is amusing, as time stands still in Japan. It is really no wonder why Sony and Panasonic are having such tough times. They can't change because no-one criticizes them in Japan where everything is hunky dori without any competition.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

get Samsung's LCD screens to rebrand as Sony display panels and TV's.

You just proved that you don't know jacks. Sony bought the panels, but they used their own processing/rendering technologies. That's why while different TV brands source almost the same 3 or 4 LCD panels from original panel manufacturer, but Sony still comes out on top in terms of displaying quality.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why can't they understand that Sony is synonymous with games now. Invest in & sell strong products and not in weak ones. Stop being a generalist and become a specialist in what's in demand.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, Hyundai = Honda.

LOL, wait till Hyundai makes something half as good as an S2000, let alone the NSX

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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