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Are Plasma TVs the Next BetaMax? 514

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sure-why-not dept.
Lev13than writes "An article in the Toronto Star questions whether the battle between LCD and Plasma is the next VHS vs. Beta: "LCD is now in plasma country, and this means war — a war some say plasma can't hope to win". Rationale for LCD's victory include plasma's burn-in vs. LCD's ruggedness, improved images and falling prices. While the Beta analogy isn't particularly helpful (since both technologies play the same content), the article does raise interesting points."
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Are Plasma TVs the Next BetaMax?

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  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:09AM (#15944243) Homepage Journal
    Then my CRT must be a wax cylinder :(

    Strangely enough, it doesn't suffer from uneven fade or blurring and has survived years with the kids knocking against it and still looks damn good.

    I must really be behind the times if I want to pay more money for something with less quality and features...
  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:11AM (#15944252)
    An article in the Toronto Star [CC] questions whether the battle between LCD and Plasma is the next VHS vs. Beta

    VHS vs. Beta was a battle in which a consumer who made the wrong choice was left with hardware that increasingly ceased to be useful, because it wasn't supported. Choosing a plasma or an LCD screen isn't remotely comparable because both will continue to function regardless of who "wins". This is a silly article.
  • by Linker3000 (626634) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:13AM (#15944257) Journal
    ...and if backlight fading becomes a problem, expect manufacturers to make it an easily replaceable option - just like changing a fluorescent tube (which it generally is) - more opportunity for the manufacturers to push 'spares' that the videophiles will replace every month or so.
  • Awful Quality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by segedunum (883035) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:15AM (#15944267)
    I've seen many Plasma TVs, and even LCD ones, in many electronic stores and the picture quality of all of them is absolutely shocking compared to an ordinary CRT. Colour, in particular, is a problem.

    Yes, they're slightly cool looking, they save space and they're lighter, but I've seen more than one person shake their head sceptically when they've seen the picture quality and then looked at those 'HD Ready' logos slapped all over them. Quite frankly, I think both of them are Betamax, but I think a Betamax versus VHS comparison is wrong. They're both crap.
  • by Vince (4999) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:16AM (#15944277) Homepage
    There's a big difference here - if you bought a BetaMax deck, you couldn't get new movies, but if you get a Plasma, you'll be able to use it through its whole lifespan. The availability of plasma displays in the future shouldn't affect your purchasing decision now.
  • by bonvoyage (844410) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:18AM (#15944280)
    I don't get this comparison at all. To me, the big deal with something like Beta vs VHS is that once you make a purchase, you're committed to a format. That isn't the case here. The manufactures, I suppose, could see it this way because they have to commit quite a bit of their resources to produce one type or the other, but to the consumer it doesn't matter. If, rich bastard that you are, you invest in a whopping big plasma TV now, and find that it doesn't suit your needs in a few years, you're not going to feel like you're stuck using plasma TVs. You'll buy the TV that suits your needs... it won't be like you've got dozens of Beta tapes sitting around to influence your decision.
  • by G-Man (79561) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:24AM (#15944300)
    I've always thought of Plasma as the ISDN of TV technology -- it's an 'in-between' solution that is less than ideal and expensive, but provides a level of capability that early adopters and the rich are willing to pay for. Eventually it will pass from the scene, but for a limited number of people for a limited amount of time, it will do the job.
  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:29AM (#15944315)
    Most of that information is dated (screen sizes especially since 65" LCD's can be found from several companies).

    And a lot more is PR crap/scare-monger to try and sway the consumers to their line of products. As stated Sony doesn't make plasmas anymore, so of course they will be advocating LCDs since that is ALL they make!

    There are "good" plasmas and "poor" plasmas, just like there are "good" LCDs and "poor" LCDs. Giving pure PR crap like this trying to compair your top of the line LCDs against mid to poor quality plasmas is as I said, pure crap. Hell, even Sony plasmas (you know the ones that Sony hasn't made for 18 months which are now at least 2 generations of technology old), Sony THEMSELVES rated them for 60,000+ hours! So how the hell are they now spouting this crap of 40,000 hours when compairing their brand new LCD's against "supposedly" brand new plasmas? Yes, that is correct, they shopped around for their numbers probably finding the cheapest plasma in existance and compaired its technical features against a name branded LCD.

    Again, most of this article is about trying to get consumers to purchase their own products. You don't see Panasonic, Philips, or Pioneer putting this kind of crap out there because all three of them produce both LCDs AND plasmas. They will give you more straight up answers as to which one to use for your situation. Not this kind of PR sh--- err --- stuff that Sony is spitting out because they ONLY have LCDs and need to try and drive as many people as they can to purchase them otherwise Sony is left out of the market...
  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hope Thelps (322083) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:30AM (#15944318)
    Yes. Even the submitter agrees that the question posed by the article, the question that forms the basis of the summary, the question that is stated as the headline, "isn't particularly helpful". This isn't just silly, it's absurd.
  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:31AM (#15944321) Journal
    The plasma makers say it doesn't happen any more, but they still warn against watching too much 4:3 unstretched content, and those channel bugs still end up burned in to the display. As LCD goes up in size and quality and down in price, it will push plasma out of the running. Sure, the LCD backlight will fade, but it won't burn in and it doesn't matter what you display (thus no reason to watch distorted content).

    DLP, LCD projection and CRT (projection or direct) aren't really competing for the same niche because they aren't thin panels. CRT also has the 4:3 burn-in issue.
  • Not true HDTV... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:41AM (#15944353) Journal
    All I know is a lot of what I see being called "HDTV" can't do 1080i or 1080p. The units come with a resolution of 1366 x 768 and I consider that "crippled, almost HDTV".
  • by dfghjk (711126) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:43AM (#15944360)
    "As stated Sony doesn't make plasmas anymore, so of course they will be advocating LCDs since that is ALL they make!"

    That argument would make sense if Sony never made or couldn't make plasmas. It makes much more sense to say that Sony doesn't make plasmas because they don't believe in them.

    "You don't see Panasonic, Philips, or Pioneer putting this kind of crap out there because all three of them produce both LCDs AND plasmas."

    Of course not. You wouldn't trash your own products even if they were trash.

    "They will give you more straight up answers as to which one to use for your situation. Not this kind of PR sh---..."

    No they won't. It's all "PR sh---".

    It doesn't matter how a set is made. It only matters how it performs.
  • Re:Duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BoberFett (127537) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:48AM (#15944379)
    So if the submitter thought the title was incorrect, what's the point of the damn article? Why was this even posted?
  • by non-sequitur (179054) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:50AM (#15944388)
    I don't think it's overly cynical though. If it's Sony,or LG, or Proton, or anybody - the company must do what's best for the bottom line (it's a legal obligation to the shareholders of publicly held companies, and the main objective for privately held companies).
    And what's best for the bottom line, is often not what the educated consumer would prefer. But it does tend to keep the economy rolling. It keeps the money in the air - where more of it can be snatched up by the powerful (and idustrious) few.
  • Re:Awful Quality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RonnyJ (651856) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:55AM (#15944406)
    I've seen more than one person shake their head sceptically when they've seen the picture quality and then looked at those 'HD Ready' logos slapped all over them.

    In my experience, this is mostly down to the TVs not displaying HD resolution material. A good 'HD Ready' set will easily highlight the relative lack of resolution in DVDs, let alone on standard broadcast television. A normal TV set can easily look a lot better on these type of broadcasts, simply because the display isn't as sharp.

  • by tokki (604363) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:55AM (#15944407)
    There are new LCDs (I haven't seen any plasma) that are true 1920x1080, which will do 1080p. The 1366x768 can do 720p and 1080i. 1080i is interlaced, and interlacing (why we still use it is beyond me) reduces the observed resolution by about 30%, so 720p is roughly the same as 1080i. At Bestbuy at least now, you can see demonstrations of 1080p (only Blu-ray does 1080p I believe, HD-DVD only does 1080i) on a 1080p LCD screen. Holy shit, it looks nice.
  • by crabbz (986605) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @11:56AM (#15944411)
    720p is a valid HD mode and many people would argue better than 1080i. I wish they had dropped interlaced video modes for HD and went with 1080p30 instead of 1080i60. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/720p [wikipedia.org]
  • by xigxag (167441) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @12:04PM (#15944432)
    That article wasn't very informative or insightful. I'd give it a 2 if it were a comment on /., and that's only on the strength of mentioning the 40,000 hour plasma lifespan vs. 60,000 for LCD.

    What I'd really want to know is, specifically, what's the verdict with respect to plasma burn-in? Sony says it's problematic. (And if that's true, why were they selling plasma screens for so long?) Panasonic says, "You get what you pay for." Is that supposed to mean burn-in's not a problem on high-end sets?

    With respect to LCDs, okay, so ghosting's less of a problem. Can we be more specific? Just how much has the response time improved? And what about contrast ratio? Viewing angle? Sunlight? Jaggies?

    Regarding both formats, what happens at end-of-life? Do they just get dimmer and dimmer? Is there some kind of hard failure in the mechanism that renders the set completely inoperable after a certain amount of time? (E.g.I had a desktop LCD monitor which started to balk at coming out of powersaver mode, until one day, it just refused to come back on at all.) Are product lifespans going up, and to what extent? Either lifespan is fairly impressive, we're talking about 4.5 to 7 years of continuous round the clock usage, and probably twice that given typical usage patterns.

    And other than a brief mention in the sidebar, there's nothing about future display technologies that might eclipse both plasma and LCD.

    Point being, this article might be helpful to a lay person who reads the Star, but it isn't really suited for a tech audience. Why is it on Slashdot?
  • by bsane (148894) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @12:12PM (#15944458)
    The point though is that there are multiple #1s and #2s competing for business. If a replacable backlight gives them an edge they will do it.

    No one has anything even approaching a monopoly on TVs, there is pretty fierce compition.
  • Aspect Ratio!!! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 20, 2006 @12:23PM (#15944501)
    We're talking about a population who will pay $5000 to forever watch the same crap low definition signal but now at the wrong aspect ratio. Almost every installed LCD/Plasma I've seen has the standard low def signal stretched out to fit the snazzy widescreen. If people can't even get that right how can we expect them to intelegently choose one tech over another? Or a better question; Why bother with HD at all when 90% of the pop can't even tell that the TV they watch day in day out is grossly distorted?? I also wonder if average Joe Dumbass is morbidly obese partly because he thinks it's the norm, after all everybody on TV these days seems to be really big (wide) and they're all popular...
  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @12:25PM (#15944513) Homepage Journal
    What we need is a different model. Like sell expensive high quality products, but offer service options and payment plans. You pay off your TV after a couple years and you can hang onto it for a while. the company produces fewer TVs reducing their overhead but charges more for them.

    Now the trick would be how to get such a model to compete with the existing model of disposable devices. It hasn't worked for printers even though everyone is aware that desktop inkjets and laserjets are a rip off. You can pick up a 8-10 year old office laser printer for only about double the price of a new cheapo laser printer, and the old "beast" might take up more space in your home but it will probably last another 10 years and be servicable. and you can usually put around four times more paper in it, so you don't have to fill it up as often or find a place to store your half-used reams of paper.

    I don't know anyone who actually went out and bought an old laser printer in preference to one of the new junk ones. so I'm guessing this isn't working out either.

    Cars are higher quality now then they were in the late 70s to mid 80s, at least American cars. car makers realized that you don't have to make a cheap car that falls apart. you just make a car that completely collapses on any impact as a safety feature. most cars eventually succumb to a collision. then you can sell those people a new car. This new model seems better than the Ford Pinto model of cars.
  • by Bastian (66383) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @12:29PM (#15944525)
    I wouldn't say that CRTs are horrifyingly large. They're just horrifyingly large if you want them to be. I'm perfectly happy with my 24" TV, and I don't think I'm the only consumer on the planet who doesn't feel the need to have his living room be commanted by some gigantic Picture Box of Doom.

    The resolution doesn't bother me since it's the same as the resolution of my TV signal and I'm not going to waste any time crying in my beer because I lack the ability to represent one image pixel with four pixels of my TV's display. Yes it's true that the resolution of the TV signal I'm getting may increase beyond what my CRT does in the future, but that future date keeps moving back, the price of LCD and flat panel TV's keeps going down, and it just doesn't make much sense to me to pay a lot for something before it's useful to me when I can be patient and pay less by not buying it until I need it.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "it's a pain to keep a quality image" and "difficult to maintain properly." I've had my CRT television for ten years, I haven't lifted a finger to do any maintenance on it aside from wiping the dust off the screen every so often, and as far as I can tell it is still working just fine. I don't even bother to turn off the TV when I'm going to go wander off with a videogame paused while I spend an hour and a half cooking, eating, and cleaning up after some fancy dinner. Meanwhile, the estimates for lifetime that I've been hearing for plasma displays make it sound like ten years would be a pretty good life. Not sure about LCDs.
  • Re:Fade? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThePhilips (752041) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @12:39PM (#15944567) Homepage Journal
    Mine is going on 4 years and no fade at all.

    Several LCD panels I have programmed claimed 2.5 years of interruptible function w/o degradation of quality. Since the panels were insanely cheap I presume that better panels live even longer.

    Presuming one watches TV on average 6 hours a day - with 2.5 years guaranty - that would make 10 years of lifetime. 10 years later I'm sure it would be possible to replace cheaply the panel with new one - just like it is happening now with CRTs.

    CRTs are also prone to degradation - just like plasma and LCD. It's just the quality of CRT sucks (HD LCD/Plasma really provide better viewing experience) so nobody watches them too much. (After coming to IT, I barely can look at CRT TV at all: 50Hz just hurt my eyes too much.)

    P.S. And with new developments like LED (light emitting diodes) back light - that would move the problem even further.

  • Re:Awful Quality (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AnyoneEB (574727) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @12:42PM (#15944581)
    My LCDs have 178 degree (claimed) viewing angle range. I think past that, the frame starts blocking a significant portion of the screen. Even my laptop's screen has a large horizontal viewing angle range, although the vertical is much smaller. One of my friends has a plasma TV and I have never noticed any difference in the picture from different angles. I'm sure there is one, I just have never been in a position to notice it even at wide angles. Maybe viewing angle was a problem in the past, but I do not think it is a serious problem on modern screens.
  • by Reapman (740286) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @12:48PM (#15944611)
    I run a projecter as well, nice to have screen sizes that are impossible without spending $50k. Projectors are of course still not perfect, you need to have it semi dark in the room (it's MUCH better then before, but still difficult in bright rooms) but other then that they can't be beat. I find the image to be quite good and you can't get more portable then that! If you have a media room then you probably also dont have massive bay windows letting in daylight. Mine's lasted me for a couple of years already, and I managed to flash it's firmware to apparently get an other 1000 hours of bulb life left.
  • by reporter (666905) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @01:02PM (#15944664) Homepage
    An alternative technology, optical interference dislays (OIDs) [economist.com], promises superior contrast, superior brightness, and lower power.

    Iridigm Technology, a small company in San Francisco, developed the technology. Unfortunately, Qualcomm purchased the company in 2004. Since Qualcomm tends to charge high fees on its patents, televisions based on OIDs may not materialize any time soon.

  • by Millenniumman (924859) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @01:17PM (#15944728)
    You are obviously involved with the alien takeover of our planet. As everyone knows, the aliens' mind reading capabilities can only be thwarted by tinfoil hats and the presence of an LCD display. This "LCDs fade" nonsense is obviously intended to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt, so that you can continue to read our minds.
  • by doti (966971) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @01:43PM (#15944789) Homepage
    In situations like that I go to shop and buy first thing I like.


    I exactly the opposite: I don't buy until things clear up.

    I would love to buy, even if it was expensive, a nice solution for viewing movies from my computer, but there seems to be no clear choice right now. Until then, I'll stick to my (ultra high definition, if compared to any TV) 19"CRT monitor, which is not bad since I view from a close distance, on a comfortable coach.

    Which other system would allow me to play 1920 pixels wide movies, like this? http://orange.blender.org/download [blender.org]
  • by hazem (472289) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @02:14PM (#15944883) Journal
    Best for the bottom line... but over what time-period?

    Monthly book closing? Quarterly reporting? Annual reporting? Reign of the current CEO? Life of the company?

    Too often, managers make the decision to make short-term measurements look good at the sacrifice of the long-term viability and profitablity of the company.

    Taken to the absurd extreme, anyone can make a company profitable for a short period of time: fire the employees, sell all the IP, and liquidate all inventory and assets. You'll be incrediblly profitable, but only for the first quarter.

    As Deming once said:
    If management sets the targets and makes people's jobs depend on meeting them, people will do whatever is needed to hit the targets, including destroying the company to get there.

    This clearly happens when the targets are all centered around coming up with a good filing at the quarter or year end.

    And actually, the obligation is not to do what's best for the bottom line, but to maximize share-holder value. This means your decisions need to maximize that value in a sustainable way, not just for the next quarter's financial filings.

    But most likely, they don't make the parts replaceable because the guy who's designing it is told to make it as cheap as possible, regardless of what that means for aftermarket replacement sales. Businesses too often try to maximize each little part of their system without looking at the overall effect on the entire system. It's a fallacy that you can attain an optimum system by optimizing all the individual parts. This is the difference between Toyota and GM.
  • by unity100 (970058) * on Sunday August 20, 2006 @02:15PM (#15944887) Homepage Journal
    And the screen have not detoriated neither in image quality, luminance, color clarity and strength, in contrast or anything.

    Its crt tube has not been replaced never since 1980, and it has NEVER seen any repair or needed any.

    It has been in CONSTANT use for the time duration at hand, on average 4-6 hours a day.

    Still no sign of weakness or anything. Its a phillips. was made in europe.

    Considering that, and considering also i still have a crt monitor i bought with my 486-dx33 back in 1993, and considering it still works despite being not precise in display, i can say that it would be utter stupid to immediately jump on to the train of new plasma or lcd technology.

    Id wait for the standard to settle, and only then jump in.
  • by letxa2000 (215841) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @03:26PM (#15945123)
    You pay off your TV after a couple years and you can hang onto it for a while.


    That idea has merit on a lot of things, but not high-technology where most of the time (in my experience), by the time something breaks, it's about time to look at the newest technology anyway. Heck I have an old laptop from 1999 that's still alive and kicking. I've bought two new laptops for myself since then and I'd never use that old laptop as my primary laptop, but it still serves a purpose since it has a serial port. The point being, if that were still my primary laptop and it died today, it'd be more than past time for me to get a new laptop anyway. I find that the case with all electronics I own.

    the company produces fewer TVs reducing their overhead but charges more for them.

    How do you reduce overhead by producing fewer TVs? That's the opposite of the concept of "economies of scale."

    Fact is, while there is a segment of the market that would probably agree with you, the vast majority of the consumers will see the exact same product at half the price and they're going to buy that even if it's lower quality. That's why Wal-Mart is so successful. The cynic will say that companies are intentionally producing crap so they can sell more crap next year; the realist will realize the companies are producing crap because that's all consumers are willing to pay for. Everyone wants quality but few are actually willing to pay for it.

  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @04:39PM (#15945361)
    Depends. If the TV costs like 3000$ to replace the customer will keep using it as long as possible and when replacing it might go with another manufacturer (and possibly avoid your products if the lifespan was too short in the customer's eyes). If the backlight can be replaced for e.g. 250$ the customer is far more likely to replace it when the picture suffers a bit rather than waiting until the TV is FUBAR.
  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @04:46PM (#15945397)
    "Richer colors" is an euphemism for "oversaturates the image".
  • Re:MOD PARENT DOWN (Score:3, Insightful)

    by toddestan (632714) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @06:03PM (#15945655)
    The technology exists - just look at CRT computer monitors. My 20" CRT can be run at a higher resolution than my 20" LCD. It's just that no one builds the TV's that can do it. Same with LCDs actually, there are some laptops that have some impressive pixel density (like 1900x1200 15" screens), but those LCDs seem to be completely unavailable outside of laptops.
  • by Ucklak (755284) on Sunday August 20, 2006 @10:57PM (#15946471)
    I think DLP is the unsung hero.

    The newer ones have vastly improved contrast ratio and the Samsungs are on par with Plasma with a 10000:1 ratio.
    You get a bigger screen per dollar and a $200 bulb replacement is worth it over a $2000 bulb for plasma.

    IMHO, it depends on your viewing environment. I've been on the fence and have always held Plasma as the king of quality but I'm not too sure anymore as I am venturing into being a consumer of one of the products. Everything that appeals to me is DLP at this point.
    I was really blown away when I went into the few big box stores to compare picture quality and saw that the newest Samsung DLPs looked as good as Plasma.
  • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Monday August 21, 2006 @01:24AM (#15946854) Homepage
    I don't know about american cars, but what you're claiming is certainly not true for Japanese/European cars.

    On the contrary, they are orders of magnitude more reliable, require less service, and go more years/miles before being worn out.

    When I was young normal cars required an oil-change and basic service every 5000 miles, it was perfectly normal for the clutch to be worn out at 20000 miles, same for the register. A car that had 75000 miles on it after say 8 years was considered as near-scrap, many cars where scrapped earlier than that due to expensive repairs. Corrosion was a major problem (I livein western norway, it's wet and salty much of the year), many cars literally got holes in their floors in 5-7 years.

    Today oil-change is only required every 10000 miles, the cars drink half as much petrol for the same performance, are much safer, enormously much more reliable. People expect to buy a new car, give it basic service once a year, and have it work pretty darn close to 100% of the time. Our previous car, a dirt-cheap one, went for 150.000 miles and 12 years with a total of *2* times having problems that made it un-drivable, none of those in the first 8 years.

    Clutches frequently outlast the car, atleast if it's not a muscle-car and you don't drive very agressively, and corrosion is so seldom that most manufacturers give a 5-8 year *warranty* against it. My brother who works as an auto-mechanic has stopped recommending anti-corrosion undercarriage-treatment. This used to be a no-brainer. These days there's just little point.

  • by brewpoo (789171) on Monday August 21, 2006 @09:30AM (#15948386) Journal
    But have you owned and used a Plasma TV as well?

    I was on the fence but after seeing the displays first hand at a shop, it was clear that plasma was for me. Try watching anything in a lit room (daylight or overheads), it can be a real struggle with an LCD. No problem on my plasma.

    Even with the reflective glass on the Plasma, I find it easier than an LCD.

    Admittedly I do not play console games on it and have to be diligent not to pause for too long for fear of burn in but who cares.

    I have also had an LCD TV (much smaller however) and was pretty happy with it. It did have some dead pixels and watching dark movies was distracting since black was not quite black enough for my taste.

    Don't get me wrong, I think each one has it's applications. My brother has the Aquos in his bedroom and it's really nice, but then again usually it is dark out when they are watching so no problems with that.

    The power and heat issues are bad arguments. The power consumption is close enough (300 max for my plasma vs. 250 sustained for the comparable LCD, which is almost twice the price) to be ignored in most cases, and hopefully you are not that close to your 42" plasma that the heat is a concern...

  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Monday August 21, 2006 @10:15AM (#15948748)
    you just make a car that completely collapses on any impact as a safety feature.

    That's not a "planned obsolescence" device, it's a legitimate safety feature.

    When your car is involved in a collision, it's going to be subjected to a large amount of kinetic energy. Would you rather that the energy be absorbed by the frame of the car -- resulting in crumpling and irreparable body damage -- or would you rather that the frame transfers that energy on to the passengers, resulting in a more serious kind of irreparable body damage?

    Yes, car manufacturers know that people who survive car accidents are more likely to make another car purchase than those who don't. But that's not greed, it's common sense. Rule number zero of business: don't kill your customers*.

    (* rule does not apply to tobacco companies)

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