No. of Recommendations: 10
I recently bought a Yamaha sound bar to go in front of my main living room 50" plasma TV. Yes, PLASMA. Yes, it is so ancient, bought in 2005 I believe. I go through streaks about where I spend my time in the house, and the kids have not been back for a few months although they will be back for Christmas. So it had not got much use. But my dogs love it up there cuddling with me on the command chair in the living room. So I said, what the heck, I shall please my dogs.

So in addition to the Yamaha 2.1 sound bar (like OMG, utterly awesome and only $229 - not my home theatre, but as you start watching the movie the sound is so good you forget that and in some ways it may be superior in regards to actual enjoyment), I decided to recalibrate the picture again. I had it calibrated to long ago to nearly the ideal picture according to the ISF standard color temperature of D6500k. In fact, as I found out later from reviews, that my TV had the best picture they have ever measured at the time in regards to ability to calibrate to the standard used in the movies. So I was like, yahoo! And yes, it does look great.

But you know, it is only 1080p, not ultra HD or what not. But from 5 feet away you cannot really tell the difference. With OLED TVs there will be better black (which is quite important) but this set had superb black even for today's time (and most of today's TVs still such in these details, at least at the lower end).

Anyways, as I was reading the review from back in 2005 or so, the review is talking about the new plasma TVs coming out (nothing out LED TVs) and how more gadgets are becoming HDMI compatible, particularly the new HD-DVD and Blue Ray DVD players.

I am cheap with my tech, meaning I won't pay outrageous sums in the thousands of dollars for it. But I don't recall what I paid for it, but it probably was not more than $1800, but the article was talking that discounts existed at a little more than $3000 for the set at the big box stores.

Point of all this, this was 2005 - the new DVD players were just coming out with HDMI. Less than a decade later, passe. Plasma TVs, extinct (they consume too much power, but the quality of the best ones are still superb). And the price. I must have gotten a clearance model or something, but people were paying more than $3k for a 50" TV back then on discount.

The other point goes to investments.

Back then there were two TV related investments that people were promoting (honestly, nothing nefarious) on the Fool and other chat board sites.

One was a company that had the patents on HDMI, but lent them to an industry consortium. A poster who left us many years ago (I don't know where he went, but I suspect he went broke) was promoting this company as if it were ARMH. He said this because of all the HDMI connections that are going to be built, and the enormous growth rate.

Yes, that is correct. The growth rate was enormous and the HDMI connectors maybe number in the billions as they are everywhere.

But the company gave away its patent to an industry consortium so that the industry would then more rapidly proliferate HDMI and probably because they did not want the industry to do a work around their patents or adopt another standard. So fair enough.

The company was relying on its own HDMI chips to make money. Except, once the patents were shared, the company had no CAP.

Moral of the story - without CAP, no matter how fast the growth and how large the TAM is said to be it will almost certainly be a bust of an investment.

* A second such investment spoken up involved a proprietary chip that would revolutionize the HDTV market and that Samsung or some other very large manufacturer had plans to utilize it in their TVs. But the company had a market cap in the low hundred millions with no sales, and simply a story.

Of course the company no longer exists despite all the promise and hype.

Morale of the story, look for real world business evidence that a new technology is being widely adopted and that the company has sufficient CAP to turn cash flow on it and recognize a science experiment when you see it.

* A third lesson is, that when a new technology is inevitable, like OLED, and you find a company that holds enabling technology. Keep an eye on it. Look for the signs of real world evidence that the technology will be coming to market. It may be two or three years too early. But such companies can make for great investments. The company with the former stock symbol OLED (I forget its current symbol) is such a company. But don't buy it when there are many years of R&D and technology and economics to overcome. Have patience.

* And 4, remember just how quickly technology and the world changes. Big Box stores (one left Best Buy), Plasma (extinct), price to HDTVs (far cheaper), DVD players (passe and cheap and after thoughts in the age of streaming media).

Target's downfall (although it is still in their swinging but their stores now feel like there is a big gaping hole in them) started when the DVD started losing demand. You could see it play out year after year the electronic section getting smaller and smaller, the price of DVDs going down further and further, until the DVD section is practically gone. Target never adjusted.

So just some thoughts on what I found to be a fascinating short trip back in time.

Tinker
Print the post  

Announcements

What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Community Home
Speak Your Mind, Start Your Blog, Rate Your Stocks

Community Team Fools - who are those TMF's?
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.
Advertisement