More Media Center Extender Stuff
Now that some pricing has been leaked on the Extenders (looking at being around ~US$350 for the basic Dlink and Linksys models) – I’m a little disappointed so far with what I’ve heard (and maybe used the word ‘goodness’ a little prematurely).
I think I mostly agree with Chris Laniers comments in his post ‘v2 Extenders Let Down Big in Price Points’ – and hopefully tonight we are going to get some much better/accurate+confirmed news (there’s still some more extender products to be announced/outlined tonight).
If what we hear so far is true - I think the big issue is that they (Linksys, DLink) really need to compete head on with at least (one of) price, functionality or sex appeal – and none of these appear to have been met.
I perceive one major problem is the initial base cost of getting the required embedded o/s and decoder chips that are up to spec to run the v2 extender platform – and unless produced in extremely large quantities – this is always going to push the price up. (so the price point is maybe a large untouchable area). The very fact that they are more expensive than XBox360′s (which are infinitely more powerful beasts) – is going to put a lot of people off simply ‘out of principal’.
So instead they need to either make it look really uniquely sexy and market it well (the apple approach – they can charge what they like and they do) – or add desirable additional features that allow it to solve a lot of different similar problems (that all require similar cpu grunt, hardware and decoding abilities and share the same internals). We see this latter approach in many areas – most notably in network gear (ie a single cheap device will function as a router/switch, ADSL Modem, firewall, print server, wireless access point and VOIP hub) – but also things like mobile phones (Camera, mp3 player, gps etc on top of being a phone).
For extenders – that similar/complimentary functionality includes things like BluRay, HDDVD, DVD, MemoryCard support, Inbuilt Digital Tuners, VideoConferencing, VOiP etc. LinkSys are sort of on the right track with the DVD Player – except that a standalone dvd player is a cheap $20 item these days – so it’s got to be more about the newer devices which a user can’t normally get cheaply as a standalone product – and ones they are likely to buy in the future already.
Anyhow I’m with Chris that there’s a chance these couple of Extenders in their current form/price are not going to be hugely popular – and will instead push it into the corner as a ‘specialist device’ (low volumes produced resulting in high price points).
The Niveus Media Center extender (which we have only seen pictures of so far – no pricing or specs yet) – appears to know at least what market it wants to be in (and how to dress the part) – so I have much higher confidence for this one being successful.