Posts Tagged ‘Pioneer’

They Were Once Pioneers

December 7, 2009

Anyone with a basic knowledge of TVs and video displays knows that Pioneer Elite TVs, and even their standard Pioneer line, (all Kuro) were by far and away the very best in performance from any company, in any format or technology.

The king is dead...

I may sound biased, but this was an opinion shared by every legitimate critic and reviewer in this industry; every magazine and online resource touted it’s superiority. Yes, this unsurpassed quality came with a steep price tag, but well worth it, as nothing came close.  But these economic times are indeed tough; Pioneer will cease production of these wonderful TV’s to focus on their audio line. My analogy to that is if Mercedes decided one day to stop making cars to focus on front end loaders. Regular Pioneer audio is value-centric, and the Elite line of receivers and Blu Ray players is very good. But it was truly their video that shined. The Sony XBR series strives for that perfection, and is half the price; so at least we will still be able to offer what is now considered the best in video.  But for those with unlimited budgets, there is much to be said for the Elites.

Pioneer had decided to take the very high end approach with their Elite line by introducing a $7,000.00 receiver, unfortunately ill-timed for this economy. And many critics believe at that price point you would be better off with separate components (a pre-amplifier processor paired with a dedicated amplifier), for less money. In our market, this high end receiver just wasn’t feasible; and I suspect, from the numbers sold, few markets were able to support this approach.Now, Pioneer has released to the public their decision to eliminate the Premier line, which is their version of Elite for cars. While a letter from Pioneer has assured their dealers that for now, Elite is here to stay, there is growing concern.  I do hope for the best. But unlike Yamaha, which has pianos, motorcycles and musical instruments to keep them going, or Sony, with cameras, TVs, computers and accessories, Pioneer is an audio company. Period. So their survival will be an uphill battle, to say the least. No one really expected Kenwood to leave the home audio market, but they did.

This will be the first time in 15 years I will not be renewing my dealer agreement with Pioneer, because at the end of the day, we must serve our client’s best interests.  For now, we will take a wait and see approach (ever the optimist, I am). And although Sony ES (Sony’s version of Elite)is our go to line for audio, I will miss Pioneer’s presence in our showroom. For their innovation, their support of the high end home theater enthusiast, and performance, I raise my glass.