Expensive Lighting?

Simon Cole

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25 Dec 2018
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Back to the original question, will premium prices remain achievable to LED manufacturers.
Well to be honest, I do not see many routes for innovation left open. It is already quite possible to get dimmable, programmable, spectrum variable, and smart LED devices at almost any intensity.
However, with such a large market for inferior products, there is really no incentive for a manufacturer to compete in the middle. Almost anything can be sold to new hobbyists. I do not see prices coming down.
Aquariums are as much a luxury as having the nicest TV couch and decor in your house. Price has no limit when it comes to home. If you have just spent £10k on your kitchen, £5k on a nice carpet, Laura Ashley wallpaper and designer furniture - you look for a designer tank and lighting. This is exactly what I do.
But our preference was not typical, we didn't like the sharpness of LED lighting, whereas the natural luminescence and warmth of T5 lighting, which varies according to each tube you choose - was something that made our room sing.
I can understand entirely why the premium market exists - but this is not a technological question. Design and fashion will be the biggest areas of product innovation in the future.
 

zozo

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Back in the day when the CD player and Videotape recorder was popular household equipment we had a similar dilemma. When these products first launched it also went with a fast pace through a development cycle. Then what could be afforded and what to buy? The 1200 dollar Bang & Olufson or a 200 dollar unbranded knock off with the same features.

My brother always liked and was proud to have the B&O or other fancy stuff. I guess as long as it looks good and was expensive enough it was good enough for him. Nothing wrong with that. He was also always very fond of quality and durability and looks.

I'm more the kind of guy that says "Never read beauty magazines, they only make you feel ugly".

And always bought the cheaper knock off players/recorders for the very same reason as i see today's aquarium LED lights.

Since the development is running so fast than what good is a high-end product that will last you many years? Simply put it next to each other price-wise and from a technical development viewpoint.

$ 1200 B&O quality last you 10 years and the $200 knock off with the same features will last you 2 years. In a year time, the B&O is technically equally obsolete as its knock off. But you still have 9 years to go with that expensive but obsolete product. Compared with that knock off, i can sell it after 2 years or trash it if broken and buy a new cheap $200 knock off with the latest features and be fully up to date again. In 10 years time i did spend $1000 and was up to date every 2 years with the latest technology. While dear brother still was proudly enjoying his already 8 years obsolete genuine $1200 B&O. It still looked good but performed like an oldtimer.

It's a matter of perspective!?

Who wants to be pretty, has to suffer... :rolleyes:
 
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If I had deep pockets I could easily have paid £400 for a light for my Nano. I don’t think it would make my plants grow any better. I’ve just bought a £9.99 security type light to try out at some point, until then I’ll continue with the £3.28 lamps.
 

mort

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As I said at the start this is about growing plants, not illuminating reef tanks that can require seemingly very high light levels. I’m guessing reef tank owners have probably fewer options than we do to use cheaper lighting?

I'm not sure that's necessarily true. Most reefers won't go to a furniture shop and buy a cheap led but the market is flooded with cheap entry level lights from China and there are also plenty of really undemanding corals that don't need that much light at all (to the point that you could keep them far easier than quite a lot of the red stem plants).
The biggest thing for reefs is everyone wants the blue spectrum which isn't easy to find without dedicated lights.
 

mort

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Mort I have a 1200 ADA it’s a super filter. I have had all the various canisters. I even know the SUNSUN USA distributor.
As I said it’s a hobby an being retired now I just like buying the nice stuff.
The GHL light I posted above have been around for years now. I don’t buy the china lights because they don’t last along time. I do lighting setup for my aquarium club so I spend a lot of time testing every type of light on the market. An have owned every light on the market.

I never begrudge anything that others love. I know my tastes are a little weird compared to others and I don't mind the unaesthetic option because I find beauty in nature not man made things.
I tend to buy things that I know will last and if that means they are top of the range then I'll pay for it.
 

mort

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There are simply so many strands



I wish it was more like the reef scene. It’ll push the high end manufacturers even further, bring prices down and people will be more aware of specialist lighting.

Unfortunately all I've seen from the reef scene is manufacturers inflating the price of the units and when the others see what they are getting they bump up their price as well.
For the average shop the planted scene is still a limited market and whilst I see it at the forefront of appreciation for nature and progress, I simply don't think there is enough demand yet to premote the development of higher end products. Hopefully as the hobby really progresses this will change.
 

Ed Wiser

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Each person looks at things differently.
The freshwater hobby has a very different view of equipment.
Because of this the freshwater hobby is still getting equipment sold to the hobby that has limited features. That are way behind the saltwater side of the hobby.
The thinking that prices will go down for high end equipment is like thinking BMW will start selling cheaper cars.
The equipment market is segmented just like any other product. It is up to hobbyist to buy products they want. If people are satisfied with less features then that is what will be provided.
 

mort

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It is built in obsolescence. I'm pretty sure the way forward is a fitting where you can change the individual modular components (lamps, drivers, dimmers) rather than needing to re-solder a new LED or throw away the entire fitting.

The radion and ai units have had built in upgradebility since the first generations but this has always been at a cost that's not realistically much cheaper than buying a new unit. Hopefully as people become more aware of the need to "make do and mend" it will force them to consider this option further but perhaps as I'm a little cynical, this throw away society, just doesn't ask for that.
 
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I don’t think prices will go down on high end equipment, I think some of them will go out of business when more people realise they don’t actually need to pay so much. Freshwater is most definitely not behind saltwater as far as I’m concerned, we just don’t need the same type of equipment luckily.
 

Wookii

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Premium brands will always charge a premium, and certain sections of consumers will always pay it. The nature of the product, the state of the technology, or even the comparison of specifications and performance is largely irrelevant.

This is the case with almost every single thing we buy, be it a steak, a beer or bottle of wine, a car, a holiday, even toilet paper and pasta (when you can actually get hold of either!). Literally almost every single thing we can buy has premium priced versions, mid-priced versions, and budget priced versions, and yet each almost always deliver the exact same form and functionality with small variances in quality (real or perceived).

This has always been the case, and forever will be the case. I wouldn't expect aquarium lighting to be any different in this regard than any other product, irrespective of technological advances, or mass production economies of scale.
 

zozo

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be it a steak, a beer or bottle of wine

Indeed, we all have Butter and Milk and butter is butter and milk is milk.. Both are strictly regulated and can't be tampered with.
But we have Grass Butter, Gold Butter, Silver Butter, Farmers Butter and even Bio Butter etc. etc.. Same goes for Milk.
And all are 100% identical if it wasn't it simply couldn't be sold as butter or milk.

Some are double the price than others... People don't care, who can afford it buys the most expensive one... And why not if it makes you feel good or even more superior to spend more on a fancy label then this is worth something too. :thumbup:
 

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