Crave.CNET.com has an interesting post about a niche product—DVD copiers with built-in hard drives—that seem to have bucked the trend of gadget pricing by becoming more expensive as they’ve aged, not less so. The Panasonic DMR-EH75V had an MSRP of $500, but is now going for upwards of two grand new and about $250 more expensive used.
So why isn’t anybody making a DVD-recorder with a hard drive and taking advantage of this underserved market? Nobody knows for sure, but I’ve read plenty of speculation and conspiracy theories. Some believe subscription DVR companies (such as TiVo and cable companies) have used their weight to restrict these free alternatives. Others claim that copyright holders (TV networks and movie companies) got antsy about people recording high-quality versions of their favorite programs onto a hard drive, especially now that digital ATSC tuners–which are capable of pulling in HD signals–are required on any DVD-recorder that includes a tuner.
They also guess that it may just be the sort of niche product that the market at large isn’t interested in, but is still very valuable for a certain type of media hoarder.
A sharp commentor points out that there are several similar units on sale from various vendors and that the real reason may be something in these models that ignores current copyright restriction flags, making them easier to use to copy DVD content. However you slice it, it’s anomalous.
Old DVD-recorders selling for $1,900 [Crave.CNET.com]