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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: Joe Cipriano]
      #5630563 - 01/18/13 08:46 PM

Quote:

Never liked Twinkies - but I do miss Ding-Dongs...




Same here ! Chocolate is the only way to go .


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JimMo
I'd Rather Do It Myself


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Under the SE Michigan lightdom...
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: starrancher]
      #5630766 - 01/18/13 10:57 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Never liked Twinkies - but I do miss Ding-Dongs...




Same here ! Chocolate is the only way to go .





Totally off topic, but having a business in a border town has it's advantages. One of our bread suppliers is out of Canada and AFAIK my store is one of only a few that import Hostess Twinkies and Chocolate Cupcakes from Quebec.

Back OT I hope Meade pulls through. I have an LX80 and I'm happy with mine.


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starrancher
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/09/09

Loc: Northern Arizona
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: DrOxygen]
      #5632602 - 01/20/13 03:15 AM

Quote:

Meade - Too big to fail!






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RealSorin
super member


Reged: 10/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5633277 - 01/20/13 01:50 PM

I looked at the financials just yesterday out of interest for the size of the global telescope market. Meade is definitely in bad financial shape with dwindling cash and a huge buildup of inventory. They established a new line of credit facility at the beginning of the year, which replaced a previous credit facility that looked like it was on better terms than this new one.

I expect the brand has too much value to go away, but from what I can see, the Astronomy equipment market has been and continues to be in decline.

I'm guessing the global telescope market is currently on the order of $100M in annual sales. Figure that at least 80% of that is lower-end products, which would be consistent with other industries. Meade had $17.8M in revenue over the previous 4 quarters up through Nov 2012. I haven't found any specific metrics on unit sales, but I'm guessing that higher end telescopes and mounts (costing more than ~$1000) only account for less than 10,000 global unit sales for the whole industry. That's really not a very big market.

These are back of the envelope numbers; if anyone has better information, I'd be very interested in seeing it.


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
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Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5633474 - 01/20/13 04:02 PM

Quote:

Quote:

"If and when Meade goes under, someone will step in a to buy it."

Hostess went under....and nobody's bought the "Twinkies" brand......




Celestron went under, Suzhou Synta Optical Technology Co. bought Celestron. It was a good fit since Synta had been manufacturing a good part of Celestron's product line for quite some years.

Meade looks to be in a similar situation with Jinghua, it would make sense for Jinghua to buy Meade and add it to Explore Scientific.

But bankruptcy does not mean a company disappears, it means the owners are bankrupt and most likely someone else will take it over. In the case of Hostess, it was a dispute with the bakers union that led to the situation.

Jon



Meade severed their relationship with Jing Hua when Explore Scientific became a bigger player in the market.
None of Meade's products come from Jin Hua, now. This has been true for over a year.


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
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Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: RealSorin]
      #5633486 - 01/20/13 04:10 PM

Quote:

I looked at the financials just yesterday out of interest for the size of the global telescope market. Meade is definitely in bad financial shape with dwindling cash and a huge buildup of inventory. They established a new line of credit facility at the beginning of the year, which replaced a previous credit facility that looked like it was on better terms than this new one.

I expect the brand has too much value to go away, but from what I can see, the Astronomy equipment market has been and continues to be in decline.

I'm guessing the global telescope market is currently on the order of $100M in annual sales. Figure that at least 80% of that is lower-end products, which would be consistent with other industries. Meade had $17.8M in revenue over the previous 4 quarters up through Nov 2012. I haven't found any specific metrics on unit sales, but I'm guessing that higher end telescopes and mounts (costing more than ~$1000) only account for less than 10,000 global unit sales for the whole industry. That's really not a very big market.

These are back of the envelope numbers; if anyone has better information, I'd be very interested in seeing it.



At their peak, Meade did 130M in sales. When they divested all their satellite businesses, they raised, per the report, about 17M in cash. It's taken a while, but they've run through the cash. Nearly all their management staff was laid off last Spring. They've been fighting tooth and claw to hang on, but the recent problems with the scopes may have been the last straw.
We'll see. I can certainly hope they hang on and recover, but it will be hard.

The world-wide annual sales are larger than your figure, but I figured years ago the global market is probably 1 million people, and probably only 150K of them would ever buy anything over $350.


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Glen A W
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: USA
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: Starman1]
      #5633500 - 01/20/13 04:20 PM

It is hard to imagine how small such a market is in the global sense. I have had a hard time understanding the variety of products available from all the various companies - it looks like some of them would take big bucks to develop and the payback is sometimes hard to figure. Also, the marketing these days is so slick and expensive looking. I see the newest Meade techno-wonder is going to be the Starlock. This looks like it is taking a good idea too far, in my mind.

I will be so sorry if the company goes. You know someone will get it in bankruptcy court, and it will probably be the Chinese. One thing that used to be a real thrill with these scopes was that they were quality, American made items. I'll use good equipment from anywhere, but the Chinese stuff has never had the same feel to it the old stuff did. Some of this is just the move to plastics and lightweight CNC machined parts, I suppose.

Long live Meade Instruments!

GW

Edited by Glen A W (01/20/13 04:22 PM)


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RogerRZ
Whatta you lookin' at?
*****

Reged: 01/09/06

Loc: West Collette, NB, Canada
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5633525 - 01/20/13 04:40 PM

Quote:

I'll use good equipment from anywhere, but the Chinese stuff has never had the same feel to it the old stuff did. Some of this is just the move to plastics and lightweight CNC machined parts, I suppose.

Long live Meade Instruments!

GW




I wish things were as they were before too, with regard to domestic manufacturing, but ask yourself, which would you rather have, a run of the mill 1987 C8/2080, or a randomly picked 2013 C8?

We didn't always put out good stuff. Asians (China) will manufacture to whatever quality standard the customer is wiling to pay for...


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Astrojensen
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Bornholm, Denmark
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5633573 - 01/20/13 05:07 PM

Quote:

One thing that used to be a real thrill with these scopes was that they were quality, American made items.




The original ETX had very good optics, but mechanically it was a near disaster. Plastic everywhere and very poor quality and design. Not good. Still, they sold a bunch of them.

But I'll miss the Lightbridges, if Meade goes under. I think this is one of the biggest "sleeper scopes" if there ever was one. For the price, these are crazy good. My 12" has really smooth motions, much better than any other dob in this price range I've tried, good enough for magnifications up to 300x. And they are so cheap that every astronomer ought to have one. For the price of a 90mm ETX, you get a 10" with a nice 2" focuser w/1:10 reducer and a nice 2" eyepiece.

I personally believe it is one of Meade's best scopes ever. Why people haven't been screaming out all over the internet how good these are is a mystery to me. Perhaps they are too simple for most people to consider them an all-time greatest product. No gee-wiz gadgets to fall in awe over, no fancy electronics, no GOTO. But they are workhorses that just plain work, night after night. Their particleboard rocker boxes do tend to sometimes fall apart after many years, but the OTAs are very well made and really strong and solid. They'll keep working for decades.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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jgraham
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: Astrojensen]
      #5633600 - 01/20/13 05:21 PM

Yeppers, I feel very lucky to have a Lightbridge 16 from the latest production run. This has been a fantastic scope!

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Glen A W
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: USA
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5633720 - 01/20/13 06:20 PM

Roger, I have a 1988 C8 I'd take over any made today, but your point is well taken. They were also pretty expensive back then!

Thomas, I have an original American-made ETX-90. I bought it from JC Penney for around $600! It is still in the box, just like new, for exactly the reasons you describe. I was unaware of the Lightbridge, but I'll file that away in my mind.

I would like to see the company sold before things get any worse. I think it would have been taken over already if not for various provisions in their documents. The market capitalization is only a few million dollars. The real estate and intellectual property are worth far more than that. They have spent the last ten years grinding the company into the ground on no earnings. There is no reason for this. Somebody would buy it.

GW

Edited by Glen A W (01/20/13 06:20 PM)


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nytecam
Postmaster


Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5634344 - 01/21/13 04:38 AM

Just got an email from Meade inviting me to buy a LX850 @ US$6000 [10"?] that takes 30min to setup and start imaging. Wow Don't think I'll be parting with cash to Meade

I'll stick with my obsy polar pier mounted classic 12"LX200 and image within 5min of opening door. Does anyone seriously setup to image from a tripod


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DaveJ
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/07/05

Loc: NE Ohio
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: nytecam]
      #5634535 - 01/21/13 09:11 AM

Quote:

Just got an email from Meade inviting me to buy a LX850 @ US$6000 [10"?] that takes 30min to setup and start imaging. Wow Don't think I'll be parting with cash to Meade I'll stick with my obsy polar pier mounted classic 12"LX200 and image within 5min of opening door. Does anyone seriously setup to image from a tripod




Check out our club Website here and look at the images by Rick Burke, Jason Shinn and Peter Clausen. Yes, one of Peter's images was featured for several months in an SBIG ad in S&T & Astronomy magazines. All these members set up on tripods each time they image. On that same linked page, John Crilly and Lenny Marek cheat by having roll-off roof observatories and create fabulous images.


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jgraham
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: DaveJ]
      #5634621 - 01/21/13 10:04 AM Attachment (28 downloads)

"Does anyone seriously setup to image from a tripod?"

Yes.


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jgraham
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5634627 - 01/21/13 10:07 AM

...though I'm endlessly puzzled why Meade gutted the lower end of their product line to offer high-end imaging gear. And no, I can't imagine the LX80 being a worthwhile replacement for the LXD75. It's an interesting product, but nothing like the workhorse LXD75.

Oh well...


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A. Viegas
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/05/12

Loc: New York City/ CT
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: jgraham]
      #5634841 - 01/21/13 12:17 PM

I started a new post over in General/Astro to discuss some turn-around ideas for saving Meade. Have a look and post your ideas!

--> Wanted: Turnaround Specialist at Meade

Al


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JeffBosworth
member


Reged: 04/17/12

Loc: Ohio, USA
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: mikey cee]
      #5634907 - 01/21/13 12:50 PM

I have heard from a trusted source in the industry that Meade is in fact on the verge of bankruptcy. Like others, I would mourn the loss of this venerable company. Celestron was recently at CES (where was Meade?) and announced a LOT of new products, one of which is very exciting - their new SkySense unit. This item essentially does what Meade's LS scopes can do - but it has been smartly modularized so it can be used with ANY of Celestron's newer mounts. It attaches to an OTA via a finder shoe and its hand controller replaces the mounts HC. Why didn't Meade think of that? They had the LightSwitch technology built into their OTAs that couldn't be put on any other mount. Missed opportunity. Are the rumors of their bankruptcy chasing their good engineers and innovators elsewhere?

Meade needs to regroup and restore their competitive edge - if bankruptcy allows that, so be it. The industry needs to foster competition to not only sell more but to serve their customer base better, too. The supposed "limited" market in astronomy reminds me much of the "limited" private pilot market I've participated in. Any product that is labeled for aircraft use by private pilots is instantly double the price that same product would bring in a broader market. Witness things like the accessory market in astronomy - parts that cost pennies to produce overseas are inflated to $50 or $60 once the astronomy label is placed on them.

So it goes. I'll happily pay the prices as long as the goods are high quality - and work as advertised.


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jgraham
Postmaster
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Reged: 12/02/04

Loc: Miami Valley Astronomical Soci...
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: JeffBosworth]
      #5635618 - 01/21/13 07:52 PM

Times change I guess. The Celestron we have today is not the Celestron that I oogled over oh so many years ago. Meade may morph into something else as well. Of their present product line I was really only interested in one scope, the Lightbridge 16, and I bought one of those. Everything else is either too cheapified, too cutesyfied, too expensive, or way too expensive for me. I feel very lucky to have had the resources to pick up some nice gear while they were making some pretty good affordable (for me) stuff.

Edited by jgraham (01/21/13 07:52 PM)


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rigelsys
Vendor (Rigel Systems)


Reged: 08/22/06

Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: JeffBosworth]
      #5635652 - 01/21/13 08:16 PM

If the astronomy market was millions of units a year, then things would be pennies apiece to produce and nickles apiece to buy. But the Astronomy market is not that big, and when one is having parts fab'd in 100 quantities or less, it's dollars to tens of dollars apiece to produce -- then add in engineering, design, labor, taxes, marketing, packaging, shipping, handling, and a small but reasonable profit each step of the distribution chain and you get to $60.

Meade's gross is something between $10-$15 million a year. In-and-out burgers makes $2 million a store ... Meade is equivalent to less than 8 burger joints! On the cosmic scale of businesses they're tiny.

I recommend that we be appreciate that small time enterpreneur's who enjoy designing, building and supplying the astronomy hobby products we all enjoy for the service they provide ... I'm always amazed at how much value we get for so few $$.



Quote:

Witness things like the accessory market in astronomy - parts that cost pennies to produce overseas are inflated to $50 or $60 once the astronomy label is placed on them.




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Steve Drapak
member


Reged: 09/18/08

Loc: Toronto, Canada
Re: Problems at Meade??? new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5635737 - 01/21/13 09:17 PM

Quote:

I will be so sorry if the company goes. You know someone will get it in bankruptcy court, and it will probably be the Chinese. One thing that used to be a real thrill with these scopes was that they were quality, American made items. I'll use good equipment from anywhere, but the Chinese stuff has never had the same feel to it the old stuff did. Some of this is just the move to plastics and lightweight CNC machined parts, I suppose.




With luck (well, for us, not the local producers), the Chinese quality will progress like the Japanese did years ago. Though with the world economy in the shape it is now, not many people are willing to make good solid products that cost more to make.


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