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Equipment Discussions >> Cats & Casses

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Patrick
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Mike in Tampa]
      #5931220 - 06/20/13 12:47 PM

Quote:

all kidding aside, I hope they get things worked out. it would be a sad day for the hobby to lose one of the BIG TWO.




Who are the BIG TWO?? I know it used to be Meade and Celestron, but now Celestron is owned by Synta and Meade's current lack of successful product launches and loss of vitality do not seem like those of a "BIG" player.

If you ask me, Synta with all it's major brands is the only consumer grade game left in town.

How does losing Meade at this point change anything? Is it product innovation? Competition? What? I feel the pain of many who've been in the hobby for a long time, but what has Meade brought to the party lately?

Patrick


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Kevdog]
      #5931222 - 06/20/13 12:48 PM

That's exactly the sort of investor involvement I would expect to help. If you feel beholden over getting a sweet deal on gear, you report one thing. If you are looking at whether you keep the shirt on your back depending on how good it is, I expect you report another.

But if you know next to nothing about telescopes but thought it sounded cool to own stock in an optics company, then you will call the products good based on the amount of shiny parts and the length of a features list with no understanding of the actual quality of the product.

-Rich


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Starhawk
Space Ranger
*****

Reged: 09/16/08

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Patrick]
      #5931251 - 06/20/13 01:03 PM

Patrick,

It's comments like these which make you the most difficult person to argue with on CN.

I must concede the truth of what you, and others have been pointing out.

However, what I think is really driving this discussion is a gut feeling in many of us it isn't really healthy to have a globe-straddling one mega company and a bunch of comparitively tiny micro companies.

And even as I write that, I am forced to see nothing any of us has said would directly result in more than the appearance of another small OEM. And perhaps if Meade had recognized that was where they were, early, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

So, I will ask this of everyone who has added to this thread: Are you interested if all we could do is get a second SCT source and modular fork maker together? It will not be as big as Meade was in 1997, and it won't have the broad range of products; we're talking about a small shop which with or without an M on the front of the building is much smaller and specialized. Having the M means Coronado is part of it, but that was a single building shop in an industrial park back when it was a mile from my house.

-Rich

Quote:

Quote:

all kidding aside, I hope they get things worked out. it would be a sad day for the hobby to lose one of the BIG TWO.




Who are the BIG TWO?? I know it used to be Meade and Celestron, but now Celestron is owned by Synta and Meade's current lack of successful product launches and loss of vitality do not seem like those of a "BIG" player.

If you ask me, Synta with all it's major brands is the only consumer grade game left in town.

How does losing Meade at this point change anything? Is it product innovation? Competition? What? I feel the pain of many who've been in the hobby for a long time, but what has Meade brought to the party lately?

Patrick




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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
*****

Reged: 05/07/07

Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Patrick]
      #5931299 - 06/20/13 01:24 PM

Quote:

Quote:

all kidding aside, I hope they get things worked out. it would be a sad day for the hobby to lose one of the BIG TWO.




Who are the BIG TWO?? I know it used to be Meade and Celestron, but now Celestron is owned by Synta and Meade's current lack of successful product launches and loss of vitality do not seem like those of a "BIG" player.

If you ask me, Synta with all it's major brands is the only consumer grade game left in town.

How does losing Meade at this point change anything? Is it product innovation? Competition? What? I feel the pain of many who've been in the hobby for a long time, but what has Meade brought to the party lately?

Patrick




I think that the STCs are the prime example of the difference this could make at this point. Competition is one of the things that drives innovation. The recent changes to SCTs by both companies are a result of both market place desire and competition between the two companies. It was a very long time before now since there was any real advancement in the SCT. There are obviously other things that drive innovation (such as the desire to sell new products) but if you remove competition from the marketplace, then the need for innovation is lessened. This may be good or it may be bad as we have seen that the rush to "innovate" and push things to market can be a bad thing. But without competition, innovation may slow or stop and be controlled more by the calculation of when the market is saturated with the current product before a new design is made.

Competition also tends to drive down prices, particularly in consumer-level goods made by companies like these.

Someone earlier suggested that a Meade/Celestron merger a while back would have been great. But you have to ask yourself if we would have things like the EdgeHD or the f/8 ACF now if that had happened. Maybe we would, but it would more likely be one or the other or it could still be off in the future yet since there are plenty of people happy to continue buying standard SCTs at this point.


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Aquatone
sage


Reged: 03/23/06

Loc: California Bay Area
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5931302 - 06/20/13 01:25 PM

Quote:

So, I will ask this of everyone who has added to this thread: Are you interested if all we could do is get a second SCT source and modular fork maker together? It will not be as big as Meade was in 1997, and it won't have the broad range of products; we're talking about a small shop which with or without an M on the front of the building is much smaller and specialized. Having the M means Coronado is part of it, but that was a single building shop in an industrial park back when it was a mile from my house.




Not interested in the slightest. The market has moved on. I would have zero confidence in investing in such a company.

Chris


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Gil V
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/09/12

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Aquatone]
      #5931409 - 06/20/13 02:30 PM

I'd rather just design a telescope line from scratch and invest in the equipment to build them. Much more fun that way.

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MikeBOKC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/10/10

Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starhawk]
      #5931433 - 06/20/13 02:41 PM

If Meade goes kersplat Jighua and ES could still acquire and continue development of their SCT patents and lines of scopes. That would continue a two-mega-company scenario, hopefully under better management.

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RodgerHouTex
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/02/09

Loc: Houston, Texas, USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: t.r.]
      #5931442 - 06/20/13 02:44 PM

A monopoly and high telescope prices?

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Alph
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 11/23/06

Loc: Melmac
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EFT]
      #5931450 - 06/20/13 02:49 PM

Quote:

Someone earlier suggested that a Meade/Celestron merger a while back would have been great. But you have to ask yourself if we would have things like the EdgeHD or the f/8 ACF now if that had happened. Maybe we would, but it would more likely be one or the other or it could still be off in the future yet since there are plenty of people happy to continue buying standard SCTs at this point.



FYI. The f/8 ACF aka RCX was already available in 2006


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RodgerHouTex
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/02/09

Loc: Houston, Texas, USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Eigen]
      #5931455 - 06/20/13 02:51 PM

Except that Patek Phillipe is an extremely high-end, high-quality Swiss watch maker and Meade does not have that kind of quality. It is also deeply in debt. I read in the article about the counter offer that they are currently $100,000 overdrawn on their last line of credit.

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RodgerHouTex
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/02/09

Loc: Houston, Texas, USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: belgrade]
      #5931459 - 06/20/13 02:53 PM

Meade makes Cats.

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KerryR
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 12/05/07

Loc: SW Michigan
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Gil V]
      #5931461 - 06/20/13 02:55 PM

Quote:

I'd rather just design a telescope line from scratch and invest in the equipment to build them. Much more fun that way.




I'd expect significant difficulty reaching a market that'd be willing to pay what you'd need to charge to make a profit. I don't think designing (and avoiding patent conflicts) and tooling up to make a superior SCT, or even a mediocre one for that matter, is any small task.


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RodgerHouTex
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 06/02/09

Loc: Houston, Texas, USA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: KerryR]
      #5931467 - 06/20/13 03:02 PM

I'm just glad I don't have a Meade on order or needing repair.

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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: KerryR]
      #5931501 - 06/20/13 03:20 PM

It seems to me that
IF Meade hadn't wasted capital acquiring businesses in areas that weren't strengths for them (like rifle scopes), and
IF Meade had been able to bring its new designs to market without defects and recalls and in significant numbers without a long back-log waiting period, and
IF Meade hadn't over-proliferated their offerings to the point where they lost any economies of scale, and
IF Meade had been able to quickly replace the ETX line with more modern offerings (both before and after JOC), and
IF they had been able to successfully compete with Synta in the mass-market "Christmas scope" arena, and
IF they had produced the scopes and mounts that people really wanted several years earlier (they ignored the popularity of astrophotography for years, to their detriment), and
IF they hadn't stopped importing many of their most popular accessories (like cameras), and
IF they hadn't lost many of their best people as losses piled up,
THEN we wouldn't be having this conversation.

But, Meade did have the problems outlined (and more).

Is it possible to save the company now?
What should they make?
Would having defect-free products save them?
Would having products to sell save them?
Would branching out to other product areas save them?

I'm sorry to see their problems, which, as we all know, are partially, at least, the fault of the US and European recessions, but the problems were a long time in coming. Astute market analysis and product selection might have increased profitability sooner and left them in an OK, but smaller, market position.

Now? I honestly don't know.


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mistyridge
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/28/05

Loc: Loomis, CA
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: RodgerHouTex]
      #5931518 - 06/20/13 03:31 PM

I wonder if the market place is reaching a sturation point and my not support the two large astro gear companies? Are we adding enough newbies to the hobby?. How many scopes and mounts can one person need? Just how big is the market? How long does a SCT and mount last before a user needs to replaces it? These are the kinds of questions I would ask before investing in such a venture.

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Jared
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/11/05

Loc: Piedmont, California, U.S.
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5931525 - 06/20/13 03:36 PM

Frankly, based on where their cash stood at the end of February and the statement that they are currently $100K overdrawn on their line of credit with the holiday manufacturing season quickly approaching (need to get product in the distribution channel by October at the latest), its already too late for any of this. I'm not even certain the sale to JOC will be soon enough to keep them running. I wouldn't be surprised to see a bankruptcy notice before any of this gets settled. Hope I'm wrong.

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rmollise
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/06/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Starman1]
      #5931529 - 06/20/13 03:39 PM

Quote:

It seems to me that
IF Meade hadn't wasted capital acquiring businesses in areas that weren't strengths for them (like rifle scopes), and
IF Meade had been able to bring its new designs to market without defects and recalls and in significant numbers without a long back-log waiting period, and
IF Meade hadn't over-proliferated their offerings to the point where they lost any economies of scale, and
IF Meade had been able to quickly replace the ETX line with more modern offerings (both before and after JOC), and
IF they had been able to successfully compete with Synta in the mass-market "Christmas scope" arena, and
IF they had produced the scopes and mounts that people really wanted several years earlier (they ignored the popularity of astrophotography for years, to their detriment), and
IF they hadn't stopped importing many of their most popular accessories (like cameras), and
IF they hadn't lost many of their best people as losses piled up,
THEN we wouldn't be having this conversation.

But, Meade did have the problems outlined (and more).





Meade did attempt to modernize the ETX with LS series, but the company was losing steam at that point, there were problems with the rollout, and they didn't promote it like they did the ETX. The loss of the mall "science stores" like Discovery Channel Store and Nature's Wonders didn't help either.

What has hurt them more than anything else? Successive scope introductions that had severe problems.

Christmas scopes never did much for either company. There is _no_ profit there. Especially when you are selling to Walmart.

I wish they had kept their cameras and built on them...I believe they had something with the DSIs...but an argument could also be made that the had way too many products.

My guess now? I hope I am wrong, but I believe they are done and going to the knackers.


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freestar8n
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/12/07

Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: EFT]
      #5931534 - 06/20/13 03:41 PM

Quote:

But you have to ask yourself if we would have things like the EdgeHD or the f/8 ACF now if that had happened.




In the 1988 book, Telescope Optics, the concept of a coma-free sct is discussed: "How, then, does the designer confront the problem of eliminating coma while preserving good axial image sharpness? ... The most common solution is aspherizing the secondary."

So it is surprising to me to find competition in the early 2000's led to something that was "common" before 1988. But there does appear to be a patent related to the ACF involving specifically a hyperbolic secondary in combination with a primary that could be spherical. It even covers a Maksutov version I think. But I'm not sure what value the patent would have since a simpler approach already exists that doesn't require a hyperboloid - and there were prior journal articles involving sct's with a wide variety of conic combinations (Sigler).

The main role patents have played in the sct world is not to drive innovation that benefits the user - but monopolistic ownership of obvious engineering choices that hurt the consumer by not being generally available, or at added cost to companies not holding the patent.

The drive for flat field imaging is motivated by larger detectors and higher imaging standards by users, rather than a tit-for-tat war of advances. A 20" RC used to be great for ccd imaging as-is - but then the detectors got bigger and the aberrations showed more.

So I'm not sure I agree that patents and lawsuits have helped amateur astronomy much, or that competition has driven innovation that we wouldn't otherwise have. Telescope makers of all types are moving toward flat field designs because that's what consumers now need for their larger chips.

I don't know what the future holds, but I hope there is a much greater proportion of funds spent on engineers rather than lawyers. No offense to those in the legal profession.

Frank


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Spacetravelerx
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/23/12

Loc: New Mexico
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: Patrick]
      #5931535 - 06/20/13 03:41 PM

Quote:

Quote:

all kidding aside, I hope they get things worked out. it would be a sad day for the hobby to lose one of the BIG TWO.




Who are the BIG TWO?? I know it used to be Meade and Celestron, but now Celestron is owned by Synta and Meade's current lack of successful product launches and loss of vitality do not seem like those of a "BIG" player.

If you ask me, Synta with all it's major brands is the only consumer grade game left in town.

How does losing Meade at this point change anything? Is it product innovation? Competition? What? I feel the pain of many who've been in the hobby for a long time, but what has Meade brought to the party lately?

Patrick





Meade does in fact bring innovation and competition. What have they brought to the party lately?

How about the LX600 and LX850. I don't want to get in a *BLEEP* match comparing products, but I certainly chose to spend my $10k on the LX850 over the Celestron. For me it was no comparison.

And because of that Celestron has competition - something better and a better value is out there. Celestron is forced to respond.

How about the APOs? Pretty good refractors in my book.

LX200 is still a great platform.

Having just one vendor, will hurt the community in the end. No competition. No reason to push the envelop.

FYI - wasn't this same comment made about Celestron when they went through Bankruptcy?


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Jared
Postmaster
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Reged: 10/11/05

Loc: Piedmont, California, U.S.
Re: The plot thickens (Meade takeover) [Re: mistyridge]
      #5931536 - 06/20/13 03:41 PM

Quote:

I wonder if the market place is reaching a sturation point and my not support the two large astro gear companies? Are we adding enough newbies to the hobby?. How many scopes and mounts can one person need? Just how big is the market? How long does a SCT and mount last before a user needs to replaces it? These are the kinds of questions I would ask before investing in such a venture.




It's not a very large market, and I'm convinced it is getting a little bit smaller every year in terms of numbers of people involved. But as disposable income continues to increase world wide, I suspect that the total $'s spent on the hobby are as large as ever (even adjusted for inflation). Don't forget new areas of the hobby that didn't exist ten or fifteen years ago such as solar scopes and astrophotography. I suspect that the dedicated amateur in prior decades would have owned just one or perhaps two telescopes. Now, four or five are not unusual. Total number of people worldwide? Probably shrinking (based purely on anecdotal evidence). Total market? Probably larger in terms of overall spend. I'm sure that the worldwide demand would support a Meade sized business if the products provided good value and consistent quality.


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