My local high-end dealer thinks that his store's sales should be used as a leading indicator. The store experiences slow down in sales months before anyone realizes there's an economic slowdown. This year, the owner told me that sales came to an abrupt halt in August, 2000.
It might force prices of both hardware and software down, but I do not believe it will hurt the future or development of either format.
avnut: it's not polite to YELL. i don't think any predictions can be made at this point about the effect of an economic downturn on new digital formats. i doubt that venture capital funds are being looked to by the producers of sacd hardware and software. i should think that most capital costs have already been sunk. what's needed now is a marketing rampup, tied to the introduction of cheaper machines and lots more software. the real problem may be reduction of consumer confidence, which will slow the sales of all electronic products. still, that trend may have the perverse effect of pushing the marketing of new digital formats, since the sony's of the world have to sell something really "new" or face the "why replace it now?" syndrome that's being felt, in spades, by computer makers. 'course this is all pure speculation. guess that's why they call economics "the dismal science." -kelly
The current market selloff will probably slow new developments down but will not kill them. Wiped out portfolios will cause new purchases to be postponed. The good news is that a few interest rate cuts along with lower taxes add up to real economic stimulus. Things should start looking better around 3rd quarter. Hopefully nobody will do something stupid like pulling the pin on a nuke.
After reading a couple more reviews of the DVD-A products, it might be enough for them to quit the format while there behind. SACD has some very powerful financing and a huge need for it to succeed for Sony and Co. I think the Markets have less to do with the economy than ever in the past. All we are seeing now is companies that had no chance of ever turning a profit finally falling off the board. The real strength of our nation and other economic powers have not changed much, we just lost focus for a while as the young hot shots on Wall Street learn how the world really works. Sure some slowdown is going to happen, it's about two years late, but this industry has lived through much worse, and will become one of the leaders out of any slow down, just like before.
As an Architect my industry has always been ahead of the economy by 9-12 months. Building is as strong as ever, and the marketplace can not find the employees it needs to fill the demand, this has created double digit inflation over the past two years in building. I predict we will finally slow to a seasonal downturn this fall, but I'd be very suprised if it was too big. The inflated pricing we have had for the last years will get into the market with this downturn in other economic areas, and the potential for rising costs, in my opinion is greater than the potential for recession. Well that's my economic update, stay tuned for other opinions I have no business discussing! J.D.
With big companies that develop these types of technologies, R&D marches on. Slowing of high end sales is another matter altogether. The only thing killed by the bubble bursting is wehavenorevenues.com and Iamagenius.com companies and the extraordinarily popular delusion that ordinary people were stock market experts.
What keeps SACD from wide market acceptance is that it is not, to the eyes and ears of most consumers, a fundamental advance over CD. D was, in it's ease of use and noiselessness. But SACD is merely a premium audiophile upgrade to CD, therefore the vast majority do not see the need to buy more expensive soft+hardware.
However, if the deep pockets of audiophiles and thei disposable income is necessary for the continuation of SACD, then perhaps the market slowdown will have an effect. I don't ever expect SACDs to be any more widespread than Krell amplifiers, say.
It's possible that the real impact will be felt on the software side. Soft sales figures may discourage record companies from investing the extra resources required to produce multiple formats. That will mean fewer titles in the new formats, and therefore less reason for consumers to adopt those formats. The effect should be temporary, though we don't know yet how long "temporary" will last. And, it should be remembered, when it comes to predicting the economic future, nobody knows anything.
SACD has more advantages than just better sound.
1. It has multichannel option. CD's don't.
2. It has a video option. CD's don't. Right now, SACD's don't either, but could.
3. Hybrid discs are downward compatible to CD players. DVD-A is not. Sony even states that the CD layer is superior to normal CDs.
4. Has copy protection. The record companies like this. CDs don't have this.
5. Has copy protection that does not affect the sound. DVD-A can't say the same.
6. Does not require a DVD player and TV to play.
7. About 20 minutes longer play than CDs is possible. One current SACD is 87 minutes long, but futre SACD theoretically could exceed 100 minutes.
8. SACD equipment is far cheaper than buying a TT, cartridge, and pre-preamp. It'll take a $10K setup to get in the ballpark with a $1,500 S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD player.
9. SACD equipment is far cheaper than buying a top notch CD transport and DAC.
Thanks, Tommart, for the information. I stand somewhat corrected about the technical advance of SACD, however, I was speaking about the general public's possible unwillingness to finance a change of format..prices have to come down and down fast. If anyone can pull it off, it will be Sony.
I did listen to the multichannel SACD demo at Montreal and was extremely impressed with the sound.
I may have mis-understood this but I was told that the patent that Sony/Phillips have on Cd's is up in 2002. For that reason they will be pushing this hot and heavy so they can reap the money for another 20 years? Hope it works.