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The BRAND is dead. Long live the BRAND!

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Neeraj0272

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Dear friends,
Please bear with me and read my rant/thoughts in this post and enlighten me with your views. For the past decade I have noticed a trend in consumer durables in India which also applies to global market is how a consumer is taken for a ride by 'Brands'. I am making these observations regarding Televisions but these equally apply to all the other segments.
In the eighties when Indian market was heavily regulated, Japanese brands(Sony, National Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi, Sanyo, Sharp and so on) were the top brands and we used to buy anything Japanese eyes closed from a local grey market dealer and not a bit worried about warranty. Japanese meant that the product will fail in rarest of rare chance and at that time we bought TVs and VCRs costing 20k without battling an eyelid. Just imagine the value of 20k 40 years back! Gold was 2000 per 10g which is 40k per 10g now! There were a couple of budget brands like Funai and Akai but even they were solidly built compromising only on latest features. There was Goldstar which was Korean and of inferior quality than Japanese brands.
But back then a Brand lived upto its reputation and you could have judged a book by its cover.
Now coming to present times, in this era of globalized economy, A brand is only a tool to fool a customer and sadly this applies to most of the global brands. Whereas once Japanese were considered to be most honest in manufacturing , now its the Japanese which are at the front in fooling customers. This downfall of Japanese brands saddens me most.
I am in the market to buy a 55" TV. I have been buying televisions for the past 20 years. I started buying Flat panels tvs with a Hitachi 42" plasma for 1 lakh. At that time Hitachi & Panasonic were the top dogs in TV market along with the other Japanese brands. But as the LCD and then the LED technology defeated plasma , fortunes of Japanese brands took a tumble and I think now whole of Japanese consumer durables market is bust. As these Japanese companies fail, they have sold their brands to low tier manufactures of other countries and so now the market is flooded with low quality cheap products of these top brands. Even Panasonic(which is surviving as of now) is playing this game both Sanyo(where it is outsourcing) and Panasonic(low quality manufacturing) itself. Companies which have not failed are now outsourcing products and just labeling them with their brands.
A customer is now never getting what he is paying for by looking at brands. yesterday I went to a TV showroom where the shopkeeper showed me a Hyundai Tv. Now Hyundai along with Sansui, Kelvinator, Electrolux, Kenstar, Akai, Philips and various other brands in India is owned/licensed by Videocon. So we are getting a Videocon product instead of the product by these companies. This story is same for all other brands. If you go to the websites of these companies, they will boast of their Japanese or other foreign origins but nowhere they will mention their present owners. The same shopkeeper also showed me an assembled TV and I think that all the TVs flooding the market are the same Chinese TVs whatever may be the brands. Only Sony/Samsung/LG are the genuine thing but they are too expensive compared to these Chinese TVs.
The shopkeeper was telling me that most of the air conditioners are being made by a single manufacturer and companies like Hitachi are just putting their badge on these ac. Now some of you will say that companies like Hitachi maintain a quality control on these products but I tell you that in search of profits and severe competition these companies are compromising on quality.
On a side note has anyone recently bought a TV from Gaffar market in Delhi? I used to buy from Singh Electronics and he had always been reliable. Three years back I bought a Samsung LCD and it was a genuine product. But the shopkeeper was telling me that now whole of Gaffar market is selling these assembled TVs and lebeling them as Sony or Samsung. So please share your feedback if any one has bought from Gaffar,
 
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drkrack

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Brand Fidelity is almost Dead with executives, suppliers and dealers changing quite frequently , Trade practices have changed dramatically so blind belief on brand name leads to trouble. But always an official Warranty needs to be honoured! Buy from an official channel as far as possible.

So, Buy Extra Warranty, 3yrs-5 yrs whatever maximum available! Partly a Peace of mind is assured. Anyways, technology changes mostly by 5yrs (sometimes in 2yrs), and you can hunt for a new one once the warranty lapses.
 

Neeraj0272

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We can not rely on warranty from expensive brands let alone cheap brands. These brands always have the excuse of 'part not available' and take weeks and months to repair under warranty. Currently my Hitachi air conditioner under warranty is not working for past 10 days and awaiting repair as 'part is not available'. Same problem was with my earlier Panasonic plasma tvs as service center would say that they are bringing in replacement part from some overseas locations.
Cheap brands shut their operations after 2-3 years. I bought an Infocus TV(working fine for 3 years) but Infocus has exited tv business in India.
Also extra warranty is not cheap. And it does not make sense to buy extra warranty if you are already paying a premium for brands like Sony. If a brand like Sony can not commit to reliability on its products then should that brand be considered premium?
 

drkrack

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We can not rely on warranty from expensive brands let alone cheap brands. These brands always have the excuse of 'part not available' and take weeks and months to repair under warranty. Currently my Hitachi air conditioner under warranty is not working for past 10 days and awaiting repair as 'part is not available'. Same problem was with my earlier Panasonic plasma tvs as service center would say that they are bringing in replacement part from some overseas locations.
Cheap brands shut their operations after 2-3 years. I bought an Infocus TV(working fine for 3 years) but Infocus has exited tv business in India.
Also extra warranty is not cheap. And it does not make sense to buy extra warranty if you are already paying a premium for brands like Sony. If a brand like Sony can not commit to reliability on its products then should that brand be considered premium?
The Premium in India is because of two reasons, one a load of customs/taxes and the tendency of brand worshipping. Since most of the electronic items are made in China, the QC is the only thing that differs from brand to brand.

A friend of mine bought a Samsung TV with Reliance Outlet and on my insistence opted for 3 yr extra RConnect warranty. The TV conked a month before warranty expiry and RConnect replaced with the New one after 15 days, because it needed both screen and pcb change.
I have a Daikin AC which unfortunately started giving trouble after extended warranty expiry and I had to pay for parts and service. So it depends a bit on luck but the third party warranty like Reliance and Croma has been quite reliable in my experience.

In general the trend is towards replacing than repairing. Same I see it in the Automotive sector. Like with expensive cars, leasing the car seems more viable option than owning it. We should be blaming the Changed Marketing strategy where the old slogan was "A Satisfied customer is the Best Advertisement for the Brand" ; because the current slogan is "Customer Satisfied is a Customer Lost" ...
 

square_wave

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Dear friends,
.. and Panasonic(low quality manufacturing) itself. .

Only Sony/Samsung/LG are the genuine thing but they are too expensive compared to these Chinese TVs.
2 QUESTIONS :

1. Why do you say Panasonic tv's practice low quality manufacturing ? As compared to the current practices by Sony / Samsung / LG ?
2. Why do you say "Only Sony/Samsung/LG are the genuine thing " ? As compared to which brands ?

Btw, the old horrid Goldstar is LG now.
 

Neeraj0272

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2 QUESTIONS :

1. Why do you say Panasonic tv's practice low quality manufacturing ? As compared to the current practices by Sony / Samsung / LG ?
I bought many Panasonic plasmas with 3 year warranty. They were repaired and replaced within the warranty period and soon after warranty period expired, I had to dispose them off. So Panasonic at that time were a disaster. In comparison my humble Infocus tv has completed 3 years trouble free service, Also in this forum itself, many members are facing same problems with panasonic sets as with other Chinese brands. Also At flipkart and amazon, exchange value of panasonic is far less than samsung/sony/lg.
Also if you see Panasonic as a group in India, it has come down a tier below best brands. Do you see Panasonic shining in any segment?

2. Why do you say "Only Sony/Samsung/LG are the genuine thing " ? As compared to which brands ?
Its a perception formed by various opinions/reviews/ innovations by these brands/ above mentioned exchange value etc. I think chances of this perception being wrong is very low.

Foreign Brands selling tv(fooling people) in India:
JVC, Hitachi, Blaupunkt, Sanyo, Hyundai, Hair, Kodak, Akai, Sansui, Philips, RCA, Thomson, Toshiba, Sharp, Polaroid, Infocus . These brands harp on their legacy for example RCA is declaring its 100 years of American history and same goes for other brands. If you check their models almost all are similar for example all models will be having same speakers, same ram , same flash memory, same processors etc. All of these brands have outsourced service to some third party and some have even outsourced sales to third party or online portals like Amazon or Flipkart. .
So my conclusion is that all of these are buying from China and selling in India without any genuine regard to warranty and service obligations.
 

rajarshi_zma

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This is topic of this Century.
I am the victim of is Brand Consciousness. Since last 2 months i am fighting with PANASONIC for one of their top of the line TV model FX730D.Its MRP is 160000/-. So I think it is a premium model to be considered.

Today also i had to sent email to their CEO/President . Still They are pathetic. Story is long .

The conclusion is now each and every brands are trying to fool the consumers. As a consumer we have to be more cautious and aware of Products what we are buying . Those Quality days are gone ; where you could blindly rely on some Brands or products.

The only advantage of this time is ; informations are easily available and competitions are more than the 90's era. The more people get aware of the facts ; the more people uses consumer courts ; more more necessary consumer laws/rules gets implemented. The brands will react & evolve slowly by this awareness indirectly.

As an example ; a same brand like Panasonic/Suzuki/TCL may have better Product Quality and Services in USA rather than in India just because of better Consumer Policies and awareness .

"JAGO GRAHAK JAGOO"
 

Neeraj0272

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This is topic of this Century.
I am the victim of is Brand Consciousness. Since last 2 months i am fighting with PANASONIC for one of their top of the line TV model FX730D.Its MRP is 160000/-. So I think it is a premium model to be considered.

Today also i had to sent email to their CEO/President . Still They are pathetic. Story is long .

The conclusion is now each and every brands are trying to fool the consumers. As a consumer we have to be more cautious and aware of Products what we are buying . Those Quality days are gone ; where you could blindly rely on some Brands or products.

The only advantage of this time is ; informations are easily available and competitions are more than the 90's era. The more people get aware of the facts ; the more people uses consumer courts ; more more necessary consumer laws/rules gets implemented. The brands will react & evolve slowly by this awareness indirectly.

As an example ; a same brand like Panasonic/Suzuki/TCL may have better Product Quality and Services in USA rather than in India just because of better Consumer Policies and awareness .

"JAGO GRAHAK JAGOO"
I will not squarely blame the Brands but it is a combination of various factors like customers want cheap products and the Japs couldn't compete with these cheap products. This resulted in these Japs companies to fail and forced them to stop their production and in the last forced them to sell their brands. Now these brands are owned by other companies and these companies are selling low quality products and fooling public. Recently Sharp sued its licensee Hisense for low quality products being sold under Sharp name. But ultimately Sharp had to drop its suit!
Now Samsung/Sony/LG are producing goods according to their brand reputation but it will not be long before they also surrender. i think Sony as a company is not in that a good position.
Its like that after blu ray, if you want to see anything in pristine 4k, you will be hard pressed to source it. Online content from Netflix etc is compressed but it sells due to convenience. So ultimately companies will stop producing blu rays and discerning n customer will be forced to consume an inferior product.
But yes it is a fact that companies differentiate customers according to their location and their respective laws. Its almost a fact that TCL tvs are far superior than what they sell in India!
I am not against premium brands. In fact I want to buy premium brands. but i dont want to be fooled by the above mentioned brands when all they are selling is cheap Chinese products under the garb of Japanese technology!
 

SachinChavan

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Brand isn’t supposed to be just an assurance of quality, it is also expected to stand for a certain positioning in the consumer’s mind. For example Mercedes and BMW - both are luxury car brands known for quality products, but are positioned very differently. While the latter is aimed at the the young, self-driven rich youth, the former caters to the chauffeur-driven top executive.

However, this kind of clear positioning is almost non-existent in consumer goods, especially durables/electronic. There’s hardly any differentiation and more importantly different positioning between Sony, Panasonic, Samsung or LG TVs. Same with smartphones today. Also, the same brand spans from budget to luxury/high performance variants. Brands have lost their essence, therefore, not just because they don’t assure quality now, but because they don’t help position the products anymore.
 

raghupb

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The Brand brings differentiation in terms of quality control, warranty, and service.
It is OK if they use the same parts; made in Taiwan or China or wherever.
Yes some brands die because they don't read the market or listen to it.
Cheers,
Raghu
 

sandeepss

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Hi,
planned obsolescence has been there for a long time and it is an integral part of capitalism. It is built into the economic structure such that capital and labor are at a balance. During the 1929 stock market crash and the great depression that followed, this was proposed as a mechanism which could pull the US economy out of dire straits, by killing a product much ahead of it's life time by intentional design.
With population exploding, I would say the rate at which products start failing with also increase to keep the companies in business and labor force in place. In 90s the world population was much lesser and the disposable income also lower compared to today. Rising disposable income fueled the fire with more buyers entering for the first time and those with more disposable income will have a natural tendency or "itch" to upgrade even when the old one works just fine. The manufacturers will definitely help both folks achieve their goals :)
Now is this ethical or moral? IMO it's a No. All this will definitely impact the environment and can snowball into a catastrophe, but that's how it is, isn't it, progress?
 

square_wave

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@Neeraj0272 , I asked the questions because I wanted to know how Sony / Samsung / lg were different to the current state of things. Especially interested in Panasonic because I have many friends who use their lcd televisions with absolutely no problems whatsoever for many years. Recently a friend whose 10 years old Panasonic died (because his son threw something at it) went ahead and purchased a new one ( 4k ) from them again. Not sure its fate will be.

I have 11 year old full hd Samsung still working fine. I waiting for it to die but it just refuses. Not sure what to pick up these days.
 

Gfreeman

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Lucky Goldstar .. Back in 98 we bought their TV ..a really expensive one. 4 months later the TV started acting wierd. If u press the volume button the channels change and vice versa. None of the buttons that we'd press would do what they were intended for but they'd do something. 5 days later after a lot of follow ups a mechanic comes down solders something in a sec that fixes the problem and says calmly enough that they forget to solder the component at the factory. That was it and we never had anything to do with them since..
A friend of mine had an LG plasma back in 2010 ..his TV lasted 3 years.

The quality issues on their phones especially the G4 and several other series(read boot loop) is all but well known. Again the reason.. loose connections between components. A while back watched a few YouTube videos showing people dismantling their phones in comparison to other brands and it honestly did not infuse any confidence in me buying a V30 at the time.
The longest lasting LG product that i heard of from friends and family was my friend's PK550 plasma that lasted 3 years

I have been in the hunt for an OLED from Sony or Panasonic but the fact that the panel's made by LG..just puts me off each time

Talking about Samsung they are in talks with Dixon technologies to manufacture TVs upto 42 inches here. They make washing machines for Samsung already
 

Mayank Shah

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About 4 years back, I had 2 identical Sony Bravia TVs. One of them conked out and the other started giving minor issues. So immediately I opened up both, with a hope to swap parts and get 1 working. Shockingly, 1 had a LG panel and the other had an AOC panel and with different connectors...un*believable.

Even in the Audio industry, we get screwed even more so if the dealer is in an another city. Replacement, repairs etc costs us to and fro shipping even under so called warranty. Many of us would simply let go due to the hassle. When the dealer is contacted, he asks you to contact the company....we all know the woes. Major part of the fine print is either not disclosed, not read, not understood and dealers/sellers take an advantage. All blood suckers.

It is human nature to go back to something reliable or stick to a particular brand. We are human and we always need reassurances, no matter what. So in the name of giving the consumer a wide range, everyone is taken for a ride. Brand....... yes, how many of us have bought a non branded piece of audio gear even after it sounded good during a blind test. Since we can't literally blind test a TV, we tend to go with brands and word of mouth. Majority of us are not tech savvy to use the web to get help. End of the day, it's the consumer who is taken for a ride and the beauty is we cannot do jack shit about it.

As @sandeepss and few others have pointed out, I do know for a fact, in my line of work, the quality of the consumables are deliberately made to a certain standard to last a certain period. This is surely going to end up in a catastrophe, the 1st one which comes to my mind is the amount of E waste we are generating, and then millions are spent on a conference to discuss global warming.

Or the technology is so proprietary, we are screwed anyway. I know a company which paid half a million dollars worth for a 32 bit software written in VB, the size of the application is only 87 MB, and the icing on the cake was they charged 20k USD for a normal i5 pc saying that it's specifically made for that software. Monopoly, proprietary, brand.

We Indians will always be taken for granted. Yes...the Grahak has to do much more than merely jaago.....but jaago is the first step. Don't see it happening soon. So sit back, relax, enjoy the ride while it lasts.

Brand isn’t supposed to be just an assurance of quality, it is also expected to stand for a certain positioning in the consumer’s mind. For example Mercedes and BMW - both are luxury car brands known for quality products, but are positioned very differently. While the latter is aimed at the the young, self-driven rich youth, the former caters to the chauffeur-driven top executive.

However, this kind of clear positioning is almost non-existent in consumer goods, especially durables/electronic. There’s hardly any differentiation and more importantly different positioning between Sony, Panasonic, Samsung or LG TVs. Same with smartphones today. Also, the same brand spans from budget to luxury/high performance variants. Brands have lost their essence, therefore, not just because they don’t assure quality now, but because they don’t help position the products anymore.
Talking about Mercedes, a cousin's friend had a Benz S class and one fine day, under warranty the air con conked. So promptly within a few hours, Benz guys, all crisply dressed show up with their fancy hardware, plug into the engine and other ports.....run some tests and confidently conclude that a PCB needs to be replaced. As luck would had it, they have the board with them. Dash board opened, PCB changed. No charge. All mighty pleased and grinning from the excellent service recieved. The owner even said that he felt more cold than earlier.

Few days later, while toying with the board, we can see "Made in Taiwan" printed on it. So much for German engineering. I guess even NASA has to use Chinese stuff.
 

bornfi

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Not sure if it is applicable to all brands but what I have noticed that all these big companies now have two segments. First segment which is for mass market (mostly made in China, Malaysia, Thailand...) while second one of niche. The second specialized segment you will still see them being manufactured in their home country. e.g. Tannoy - while most of their models are made in Malaysia but the Prestige series are made in UK. With Marantz too, I noticed most of them are from China, Malaysia but there are some made in Japan. And of course the second segment is expensive.

I haven't done much of research in India market but check that their top most models may be too expensive or not available in India and must be made in their home country.

This info may not be 100% applicable to all types of product but just wanted to share what I look out for when I am on a hunt for any new electronics.
 

Neeraj0272

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@Neeraj0272 , I asked the questions because I wanted to know how Sony / Samsung / lg were different to the current state of things. Especially interested in Panasonic because I have many friends who use their lcd televisions with absolutely no problems whatsoever for many years. Recently a friend whose 10 years old Panasonic died (because his son threw something at it) went ahead and purchased a new one ( 4k ) from them again. Not sure its fate will be.

I have 11 year old full hd Samsung still working fine. I waiting for it to die but it just refuses. Not sure what to pick up these days.
I too have a Panasonic projector working fine for past 8 years. But I think that as projector volumes are low so maybe Panasonic manufactured projectors at a single factory and probably in Japan.
However the point is that just look at the positioning of Panasonic as a brand in Indian market and also read about complaints about new TVs(including Santo). Vertical banding, light bleeding, people having to get their new sets replaced etc. These are the same problems that buyers of VU and TCL are facing. Also do you see anywhere Panasonic boasting of new technological innovation? Heck they have to buy their oled panels from LG!
 

raghupb

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I too have a Panasonic projector working fine for past 8 years. But I think that as projector volumes are low so maybe Panasonic manufactured projectors at a single factory and probably in Japan.
However the point is that just look at the positioning of Panasonic as a brand in Indian market and also read about complaints about new TVs(including Santo). Vertical banding, light bleeding, people having to get their new sets replaced etc. These are the same problems that buyers of VU and TCL are facing. Also do you see anywhere Panasonic boasting of new technological innovation? Heck they have to buy their oled panels from LG!
OLED is LGs tech. So what's wrong in sourcing panels from them.
Just like Plasma was Panasonic/Pioneer forte last decade, OLED is LG forte now.
Cheers,
Raghu
 

square_wave

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There is nothing wrong with people sourcing parts like panels. There are only a few OEMs who makes those. End of the day, quality is something that you get when you follow certain practices. It has nothing to do with " what " parts you use as long as the parts meet certain quality specs. I may have been lucky but all consumer durables that I bought during the 2003 to 2007 time lasted more than 10 years without even a hitch. TV & Fridge - Samsung, Washing machine - LG.

What are the best television brands ( in india )nowadays when it comes to dependability and quality ?
 
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rajarshi_zma

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Made in China, Taiwan,Vietnam,Malayasia does not make some product/component bad . If the FMCD companies follows the practices of meeting the threshold of Quality standards be wherever that is manufactured .Then its absolutely fine.

I think in all these regions there are a huge chunk of unregulated allied industries exist. And all the Budget manufacturers majorly source their components from this lowcost unregulated component suppliers . As a result the failure percentages are more ; which tends us to make a perception of "Made In China" jargon.

I think it is the Parent brands who needs to keep the Quality Thresholds high . Who cares about the source of the components as long as it serve the purpose perfectly.


Big fishes like Apple,Google,Dell and every other global manufactues have their Manufacturing plants in these countries.
 

greenhorn

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even in the old days, you will see a lot of rebranded tech. Bush were mostly Akai, Aiwa was actually sony, and if you open up turntables, amps and cassette decks, you will find a lot of Sony, Sanyo and Hitachi Stuff. Any amp with an STK chip is sanyo. Any CDP with a KSS series laser is essentially a sony, and even in the good old days, a japanese branded TV did not imply a japanese picture tube. I recall my dad telling me this - he had a friend who ran a service centre/dealership, and they looked at the picture tubes in all the new TV's they had in stock, and only the Bush had a japanese one.

At least modern TV's are not really repairable in the same sense as the old ones. You are effectively leasing one for the duration of the warranty period. So get the max warranty you can get.
 
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