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Problems at Meade???

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#151 aezoss

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:50 AM

I agree Apple's product line is streamlined and their advertising is slick but keep in mind their consumer electronics model is based on disposable hardware with a lifetime of 6-12 months. They have had the opportunity to refine the iPhone at least once a year since 2007 and get those refinements into their users hands. Many of the platform's issues can be addressed in software. Software that Apple has a massive budget to maintain. Telescope manufacturers don't have this luxury and just simplifying the lineup won't make a substantive difference if the products aren't decent to begin with.

Being a pioneer doesn't pay the bills. The worst thing for a company with no money is to be stuck in development hell and dump a bad product on their customer base. They need a reasonably diverse line of quality workhorses to bring in the cash so they can go off to the lab and invent crazy stuff. Crazy stuff a customer is more likely to buy if her 8" dob or 4" Achro and the mount it came on has worked trouble free since the day she got it.

Intelligent marketing and better distribution would help. With the exception of one camera store with minimal inventory, no brick and mortar shops in my area carry Meade. Support has been cited as one of the reasons vendors don't stock Meade's products. Sad.

Meade also needs to fire their advertising department. I'm looking at the LX850 ad on the back of the March issue of Astronomy and shaking my head. The Meade image is good, but it's reduced to merely okay (soft, washed out, bloated stars) next to the Hubble image. I don't get it. It's a terrible comparison and makes the LX850 look bad. It would have made more sense to show a competitor that the LX850 compares favourably against. Trying to leverage the argument that the scope is not $2.5B therefore okay is actually awesome is ridiculous. I have yet to see a Bugatti in a Kia ad claiming the Rio would own if the Veyron wasn't so good.

Well, here's hoping someone shakes some sense into these guys...

Lee

#152 astro_baby

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:09 AM

Firesale the LX80 out of the door to get rid and turn it into cash. It may not be perfect but if you were selling tham at a wacky price you'd get some buyers. Use the cash to fix problems with existing hardware that has a base - ETX-125 for a starter. Get the bigger tubes onto Losmandy dovetails and just sell the optic which are already tried and tested.

You have two big comets inbound soon so pitch at the casual buyers who will but to see a comet. DONT offer stuff to Walmart on crazy Sale or Return but look to get the reliable stuff which people buy working better and into a dealer chain that will offer some service and spares.

I dont do imaging, dont have mega expensive scopes and to be honest hardly know anyone who does. So spending big to play in a completely upmarket arena seems nuts to me. Wheres the selling proposition ? I scarecley know anyone who has a 6 grand mount. I do though know shedloads of people with relatively low cost APOs, Achros and Newts on 1-2 grand mounts so thats really where the market is. Yes you cant compete with SYnta on price - dont even try - lever the brand and push quality. Questar dont compete on price and still sell - no reason an ETX-125 with some metal compoenents replacing the plastic ones couldnt do well. Sell it in a nicy ally case and you'll pick up the punters who like a technoi toy that looks nice - I bit of polished alluminium and away you go.

High end in astro seems to me to be a mom and pop outfit because the volumes just cant be existing out there. Tell me I am wrong and that the big ticket suppliers ( and I would be hard pressed to name that many ) are in fact mega corporations turning out telescopes like sausages.

A local dealer to me has had a Meade 10" SCT in his showroom window for a very long time - its almost a local landmark ( yes go down the high street - turn left at the big blue telescope in the window ) meanwhile he is hosing out a shedload of Synta/Celestron kit in the 8" Newt on EQ5 area. That must tell you something about what the market wants to buy. It doesnt appear to want to buy expensive telscopes.

By the way I had a Meade 5000 102mm on approval from another dealer and boy did I hate it.....one of the most dreadfully engineered bits of kit I think I have ever had. Took me back to how telescopes were in the 1970s. OPtically it was ok but mechanical fit and finish was atrocious. In case you think that was Meade bashing - far from it - I wanted with all my heart to buy that scope but one nights use was enough to convince me not to buy so there is clearly a massive quality issue here as well.

As for ads brng back the men in white coats :)

#153 mich_al

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:21 AM

A modern telescope should come fully equipped with wifi compatibility and out of the box image capture that is uber easy and totally idiot proof. You take the scope out of the box. You push a button, it aligns itself and on your wireless device be it an iphone or laptop or just on the little 4" lcd connected to the scope, it gives you all kinds of options of what to look at, or you tell it what you want to see.


Some uber succesful telescope company, that has the resources to properly develop it, might sell a few of those in a 'Sharper Image' catalog or 'Wired' magazine. I suspect that most real enthusiasts want less 'bells and whistles' and fewer things that can fail.

#154 mich_al

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:28 AM

< snip >

Well, here's hoping someone shakes some sense into these guys...

Lee


It seems the marketplace is well into that!

#155 rmollise

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:41 AM

Firesale the LX80 out of the door to get rid and turn it into cash. It may not be perfect but if you were selling tham at a wacky price you'd get some buyers. Use the cash to fix problems with existing hardware that has a base - ETX-125 for a starter.


The ETX 125 is gone and I doubt it is coming back--I doubt they could bring it back if they wanted to at this stage of the game. :bawling:

#156 rmollise

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:43 AM

A modern telescope should come fully equipped with wifi compatibility and out of the box image capture that is uber easy and totally idiot proof. You take the scope out of the box. You push a button, it aligns itself and on your wireless device be it an iphone or laptop or just on the little 4" lcd connected to the scope, it gives you all kinds of options of what to look at, or you tell it what you want to see.


Some uber succesful telescope company, that has the resources to properly develop it, might sell a few of those in a 'Sharper Image' catalog or 'Wired' magazine. I suspect that most real enthusiasts want less 'bells and whistles' and fewer things that can fail.


The problem with the built-in camera idea is that what do you do when next year's improved cameras come out? For example, the little camera Meade slapped on the Light Swtich was downscale when it came out, but several years later is just plain pitiful. ;)

#157 jgraham

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:28 AM

That is certainly true for an imaging camera, but the camera on the Light Switch is little more than a sensor to detect the alignment stars. If it continues to perform that function then it is fine. The problem is that I believe Meade also suggested that you could image with it which was a stretch even when it was new.

#158 rmollise

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:57 AM

Bingo, the claim was that you could make nice portraits of the constellations...which was...well...a little optimistic. But my point is, why buy a telescope with a built in ST-4 when before long there will be an ST-2000? ;)

#159 RealSorin

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:09 PM

The problem with the built-in camera idea is that what do you do when next year's improved cameras come out? For example, the little camera Meade slapped on the Light Swtich was downscale when it came out, but several years later is just plain pitiful. ;)


Actually I think this is a massive opportunity to integrate all those iPhones. Just bundle a simple bracket so people can mount their iPhone to the eye piece, and maybe sell a very simple astrophoto app in the app store.

Astrophotography today is only as hard as you want to make it. Despite what some people want to believe, it's a capability within the grasp of anyone with a smartphone or point and shoot camera. If you get more people sharing photos of the moon, Jupiter, orion, whatever, you are almost certain to spark more interest. Frankly, it doesn't matter if it's a $500 telescope or a $99 walmart special. I don't think there's any downside to sparking people's imagination and interest in the cosmos. This is an opportunity I really hope Meade, Celestron, and every other manufacturer takes advantage of.

#160 Stew57

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 09:04 PM

A go to mount with an iphone in the place of the eyepiece. You select the object and the mount roughly slews to the objects location and the image pops up on the screen, hires and color at that, maybe a zoom in option. Just don't tell anyone the images are stored in the app. Finally a scope/mount that can actually display the images shown on the box and has perfect tracking for ap!

#161 blueman

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:25 PM

Others were comparing the Meade with the AP, not me. I know better, I have had Meade mounts and they were OK, but not really good.

I do agree though, there is plenty of room on the plate for comfort mounts. The higher end mounts are for imaging and if Meade is trying to build a profession imaging mount and charge many thousands of dollars for it, they had better do a bit better than the LX800-850. The specs are not that great, the contruction is OK, but not great and the built in everything is a disasster waiting to happen.
Blumean

When Meade begins to even come close to AP's proven performance, you might compare them.
But with Meade's past performance, they have a long road ahead of them before they can be compared t the AP mounts.
Blueman


And yet, most amateurs don't need and can't afford AP gear. There is a place for middle of the road Fords and Chevys in addition to BMWs and Mercedes. Meade has sold a lot of EXCELLENT telescopes including the LX200 Classic and much more at prices that me and Joe Spit the Ragman can afford. Most of us don't expect watch-like precision, but are both happy with and producive with what we've got from them when they are on top of their game.

Meade doesn't need to become the next AP or Tak, they just need to slow down and get a robust QA force to work. :gramps:








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