THE PRICE OF PROGRESS

Hi-tech Blu-ray players are remarkably inexpensive. But have you ever wondered how the manufacturers can make a profit when they sell these technology-packed units for less than 50 quid?

Well, I know.

Once upon a time there we had incredibly expensive Betamax video recorders. Then came the VHS – about the size of a VW camper van. Just as everybody was building up their video collection, along came the equally mega-expensive DVD player, which is now moving aside to allow Blu-ray into the picture.

So I got a Blu-ray player. I suppose my DVD collection will now be going the way of my radiogram, slide rule, platform shoes and LP records. The thing is, a Blu-ray player is seriously cheap – about the price of a half decent meal – when you consider the amount of technology and clever-clever hardware inside such a small box. So I was mightily pleased with my new player.

Until I opened the packaging.

Inside, I found a little black box with some buttons along one side, and a mains lead. The only other thing in there was the instruction booklet which informed me that all I had to do was plug the unit into the mains and attach the HD cable (not supplied).

Not supplied? Sorry?

Muttering to myself, and anybody else who would listen, I set off to Livingston Centre for this magical HD cable. The price for a cable? Almost £50. The lead was more expensive than the player! I asked the salesman if it was made of gold. Turns out, it was – 24 karat gold plating, to be exact.

However, I bought one – without the gold. A snip at £20 for a short length of wire. That should have been it. But, no. The TV set has only one HD input, and I have Sky television, which means I would require a total of three outrageously expensive cables PLUS a “splitter”, which would cost a further £50.

In other words, the cost of linking the unit to the TV is twice that of the player!

It’s like going for a meal; excellent value at only £2 for a three-course dinner. Will you require a plate? Ah, that’ll cost you an arm and a leg, sir. How about cutlery? Would you like to hire a knife and fork? We accept all credit and debit cards. A chair? Certainly, sir. Will you be paying cash?

So, if you’ve ever wondered how manufacturers can turn a profit when selling hi-tech, cutting-edge gizmos at ridiculously low prices, now you know.

Drew McAdam

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2 Responses to THE PRICE OF PROGRESS

  1. Wayne says:

    Drew,
    Unfortunately you have been the victim of not shopping around, rather than any conspiracy by the Blu Ray manufacturers – although I do agree they should at least supply a cable.
    Any large supermarket, which does electricals as well as food normally stock these now for about £8! Oh and glad you didn’t go down the gold plated route – I believe it’s a con on behalf of the cable manufacturers – couple of gadget programme showed that it makes no difference!
    Lastly, of course, there is Amazon. Even with the cost of postage you could have saved a lot of money!
    I am surprised a canny Scot like yourself didn’t shop around 😉
    I also realise that this is “bolting the stable doors after the horse has bolted” but someone else may realise this and not spend so much.

    • drewsmuse says:

      Thanks for that, Wayne. You are, of course, absolutely right. Truth is, I had the player already plugged into the wall socket, had everything ready to go, so just shot out the house and went to the nearest computer / electrical outlet. I will certainly pass on your information to anybody else I know who might be going to purchase a Blu-ray player.

      I’ve alwaysa been one for supporting my local retailers, but you know what… if they don’t support us, then perhaps we SHOULD shop online more.

      Best wishes,

      Drew

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