Saturday morning, the paper was filled with reports of people injured and arrested (mostly at Wal-Mart for whatever reason) trying to get the Black Friday loss leader, and it was noteworthy that for many of them, the loss leader was a DVD player--apparently as usual.
Now this is very interesting, as apparently 80% of American households have at least one, and at $50 or less, they're practically giving them away already. I just bought a DVD/VCR player for $60 at a much safer store, Sears. So why are so many people so excited about saving a few bucks on a player?
Well, hype certainly has something to do with it, but I'd suggest that another reason is product quality. My new Magnavox looks, to put it charitably, like the plastic used to make it (there is little metal in the unit, it appears) is a side business of Fisher-Price or Mattel. So I have to guess that one of the big reasons for the rush to get a new DVD player is that the buyers know their old units are not long for this world.
It's a far cry from the days when your VCR would set you back $500, but would last through ten years of normal use. And ironically, this happens just as more and more companies learn how to do accelerated reliability testing to design for long term reliability.
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