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  1. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Receivers continue to be sold under their brand:

    https://www.woot.com/offers/pioneer-elite-network-stereo-receiver?utm_campaign=Daily+D...5080_263895950

    I was under the impression they had circled the wagons (years ago) and shrunk down to just some car stereo product. Of course, simply the name surviving does not prove anything, as many recognized, historic brand names like Polaroid were bought up by Chinese companies. In some cases, what is now being sold under those brand names bears no relation to what the original company was known for.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.
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    Based on their US website, Pioneer still sells a variety of home audio equipment as well as Blu-Ray PC drives and UHD Blu-ray PC drives, but no TVs and no UHD Blu-ray players. There is one Blu-ray player listed.
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    For the price you can find better, Go with a 4k receiver that also has Dolby Atmos.
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  4. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    pioneer receivers have always been the lowest end of the quality spectrum without any "high end" acceptable models. yamaha or denon or almost any others are better choices.
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    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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  5. Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    I was under the impression they had circled the wagons (years ago) and shrunk down to just some car stereo product.
    This was indeed more-or-less what occurred in 2009, when Pioneer initially crashed and burned under the dual pressures of worldwide recession and sudden collapse of the premium plasma TV market (Pioneer's dependence on plasma for profits was as crippling as Kodak's stubborn reliance on the dying film business). Overnight, they exited most of the product categories they had been losing money in, re-organized around the less-prestigious but more-profitable car audio business and a couple other niches, and the Pioneer of old effectively died forever.

    Now, ten years later, they've stabilized, having gradually re-entered a few of the most popular home electronics categories. They'll never again be the iconic company they once were, but they did at least avoid becoming an empty shill brand like Polaroid (no doubt with some assistance from the Japanese government, which often intervenes to prevent total failure of famous Japanese brand names). Unfortunately the era of Pioneer being innovative and competitive at the higher end of products like TV displays and video recorders is probably over: many of the categories they previously excelled at have either become irrelevant altogether, or commodotized to the point of profitless.

    I'm glad they somehow managed to hold onto a piece of the optical drive market, because they were (usually) a decent option there. One would assume there isn't much margin in raw drives, but perhaps reduced competition has shifted the economics more in their favor.
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  6. Member Seeker47's Avatar
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    Thanks for filling in the blanks, guys. I had thought that in some of those categories -- not just the plasma TVs, and perhaps even extending to some of their receivers (?) -- they had been a fairly elite brand. (No pun intended.)

    I had used their Atapi burners as my preferred standard, up to about 117, for many years. Still have a BD-206 in the retail box that was slated for a long-delayed tower system build. It's strange what can happen with some commoditized items. We have some desktop systems in an office that were built with these

    https://www.frys.com/search?query_string=8169695&nearbyStoreName=false&site=204premail091017

    which I've seen go on sale for at least $10. less, maybe even for as low as 10 bucks. Yet, they seem to be pretty reliable -- at least for writing data. (I don't know how well they'd fare with some of those accuracy graphs generated by ImgBurn or some test programs.) But how can they make something good selling at that price ?

    In contrast, the BR version of this

    https://www.frys.com/search?query_string=9240599&nearbyStoreName=false&site=204premail112617

    has an apparently non-commodity price. Is Pioneer still competing on quality with LG and Samsung with their burners ?
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.
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  7. I had thought that in some of those categories -- not just the plasma TVs, and perhaps even extending to some of their receivers (?) -- they had been a fairly elite brand. (No pun intended.)
    It depends on the time period, market region, and specific categories/models we're talking about. In recent decades, the big-name Japanese approach to higher-end audio has been more pragmatic than purist, more akin to the way Toyota and Nissan re-work their bread-and-butter cars into the more "premium" Lexus and Infiniti automobiles. Scratch the surface, and the "premium" content is somewhat less than meets the eye. A Camry becomes a Lexus by dint of some serious mechanical tuning, a boatload of bling, somewhat higher QC, and an arguably nicer dealer experience. To a large degree, this is how Pioneer Elite, Sony ES, Onkyo Integra, etc differentiate(d) their "premium" gear from similar pedestrian models they churn out thru Best Buy.

    The car branding analogy applies only up to a point: "premium" cars do typically offer something significant to earn their higher prices. The home electronics strategy has been much more random and scattershot. Some Pioneer and Sony "Elite" reworkings were/are more extensive than others: the "upgrades" range from purely cosmetic to wholesale swap-in of premium components, usually some compromise of both. You're more likely to find bespoke, unique models at the very top of the "Elite" lineups: from the midrange on down, you're usually just paying for a prettier faceplate/cabinet and not much else. North America tends to get the more dubious upgrades, while Europeans (and the Japan home market) often get notably better, more interesting "Elites" at a wider variety of price points. Screening out the posers from the real deal requires analyzing both UK and USA audio press, and parsing the reviews at various regional A/V and Amazon sites.

    The heyday of "hifi" in the 1960s-1970s was a different story. Nobody got away with crappy, disposable plastic cosmetics: even the budget Pioneer-Kenwood-Onkyo-Sansui receivers, amps and tuners looked (and felt) more luxurious than modern-day Elite units. Mfrs differentiated their models based solely on the guts and specs inside, with a fairly simple "budget-adequate-good-better-best" strategy. This was exemplified by Pioneer's (now-highly-collectible) "silver-face" epoch: models in the 5500 series were decent mid-fi, move up to the 9500 series and performance increased incrementally. Granted, Japanese amps and receivers weren't considered truly audiophile by the snobs, but in many cases the performance came close enough (esp top FM tuners like TX-9500).

    That all ended by the late 1980s, as cookie-cutter black plastic junk flooded the market. Here and there, the majors would cough up a surprisingly good unit, but there seemed to be no reliable correlation between price and performance (or year-to-year consistency). Niche players cemented their hold on the "true audiophile" while the major brands became complacent and interchangeable. That still holds true today. The Pioneer (etc) home theater receivers lurch from surprisingly good to surprisingly bad (and back again) with every model change: you couldn't make sense of it even with a spreadsheet. About all one can do is gamble based on reviews, try out a couple good prospects, and pray one of them appeals to your senses. Then, pray some more that the damned thing won't self-destruct before you get at least two years out of it. The more complicated this stuff gets, the more catastrophic the defects and breakdowns.
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  8. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    pioneer peaked with their really nice plasma tv. too bad it was only 720p and generally didn't last very long or ever updated. their optical drives back when they were manufacturing their own were awesome. unfortunately from an audiophile's perspective their receivers have always been lame.
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    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    In contrast, the BR version of this

    https://www.frys.com/search?query_string=9240599&nearbyStoreName=false&site=204premail112617

    has an apparently non-commodity price. Is Pioneer still competing on quality with LG and Samsung with their burners ?
    I have a Pioneer Blu-ray drive in my tower PC, but I bought an LG for my HTPC because Pioneer's drives are about one centimeter longer than a standard optical drive and would not fit in my HTPC case. Pioneer's Blu-ray drives seem to have a better reputation as burners than LG's. The LG usually fails when I try to burn my well-used DVD-RW media, so I think that there could be some truth in that.

    I can't recall seeing much written about Samsung drives lately. I did a search and found only one Samsung Blu-ray drive that appears to be in production currently, a slim external Blu-ray drive.
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  10. Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    I can't recall seeing much written about Samsung drives lately. I did a search and found only one Samsung Blu-ray drive that appears to be in production currently, a slim external Blu-ray drive.
    The slim BD/DVD optical drives Samsung used in its laptops seem dramatically more reliable than their external portable USB-powered versions. I've got a group of Samsung Win7 laptops that have easily burned a minimum four thousand dvds apiece since 2011 with nary a hiccup, while the reputation of their externals is pretty dismal (like nearly every other brand). Either the burners in their laptops were not actually Samsung-made (stranger things have happened), or the portable external concept is inherently self-destructive.
    Last edited by orsetto; 5th Dec 2017 at 18:09.
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