The Art of Home Theater Projectors

Art the Blogger: Confession – Procuring Projectors and Blogging

Greetings all, fun time – forgive, a short rant, since I am offended!   Our government, you may not know passed a law requiring me as a blogger to provide a level of information on my activities that they wouldn’t dare ask a teacher or doctor.

As some may know the Federal government does regulate bloggers. (It’s only one of many first little steps on the way to controlling the media, you know, getting a headstart on 1984, just a little late).  I must disclose that I get occasional deals from manufacturers.  There!  Shocked?  And I get “freebies” too.  Jail time?

There, know you know, far, far more about my blog as a business, than the thousands of fed regulators assigned to the big banks,  and Fannie, Freddie, and AIG, ever knew about what was going on.  I mean their job was to keep an eye on things, clueless.

Well, all those fed auditors and regulators (of banks, insurance, stock markets),still have their jobs, none fired.  Hey, they may be even harder to fire than school teachers with 20 years tenure.  (Unless they look at some file on a celebrity, that they’re not supposed to… that’s apparently even a fireable offense at the federal level.)

Hmm, I wonder if the government will hire 20,000 regulators to monitor us bloggers every move – which means they’ll do nothing, get fat pensions, and we’ll have wasted our time.

But, enough of the political silliness.

Here’s the skinny:

Most manufacturers (I assume) will offer me the same discounts on projectors that they offer dealer personnel.

Apparently the government figures that any blogger having written anything on the internet, who has ever received a discount on related equipment or services, is required by law to divulge such things.  I’m not sure if the Feds are looking for extra stuff to tax, or just to be a pain in the butt.  Well, doesn’t really matter.  I shouldn’t plead the 5th, so I better confess.  I do!

As a reviewer, and employee of Projector Reviews, Inc, apparently no one is required to report what I buy or use, or what price I paid.  But, because I’m also a blogger, it’s now everyone’s business. Welcome!

But first – the thing is:  My blog is part of Projector Reviews, Inc.  In the past, it was a sole proprietorship.  My needs for equipment are for the company – Projector Reviews, Inc.  I don’t need or get additional equipment because of the blog. In fact, going forward, the company will no doubt equip the room.  Everything I use is needed for the core ProjectorReviews.com this point, any new projectors and equipment purchased, to be used in the testing room and the viewing theater, will be owned by the company, rather than by me, individually.  I’m not sure what that means, re this disclosure, but I figure that it apparently makes a difference to someone somewhere, that, if, say, I buy a new Sony receiver for $1500, whether the check is from Art, or from Projector Reviews, Inc.   I’ll let the lawyers figure that one out.  So, here goes – how it works:

1.  I get discounts on almost everything I buy.  Hey, even when I buy things not related, I get discounts.  I don’t like paying retail. I may have to pay retail when it comes time to buy some yogurt at the supermarket, but not when buying a car, a projector, or even a piece of furniture.  I love to negotiate.  I avoid places where I can’t.

So, here goes, relating to business:

2.  Over the years, I have bought a number of projectors for my business use, which in my case, means using them extensively in both of my rooms – the official “theater”  viewing room and the smaller, but equally important testing room.  The last projector purchased was my JVC RS20.  I certainly can tell you that I have paid 50% or more of MSRP on every projector I have purchased.

At any given moment, I have here, at my disposal, between 5 and 15 projectors sent in by manufacturers for evaluation and review.  Actually I have no compelling need to own my own projector (though I do), because I always have excellent ones here.

Most likely, these manufacturers offer me the same discount they offer the sales guy who just recommended that same projector to you, the difference being he, she, or it, doesn’t have to divulge that they got a discount, just us “unofficial press”  (BTW, when I write reviews, not blogs, I’m regular press and not required to confess, seems the regular press (that includes Fox and NBC, CNN and the NYT), are just too honest, unbiased, and perfectly balanced, never putting forth their agenda in the guise of news.     I’m a little unclear why the government thinks that I, as a blogger am less ethical than writers at the New York Times, The National Enquirer, and Motor Trend.  Annoying.

Next.  Over the years, I have owned home theater projectors from three major brands.  All have offered fairly comparable discounts.  I have never asked any other projector manufacturers as to what their discount might be.  That makes sense, because I only buy projectors I really like.   I blog, because I’m an enthusiast.   My credibility with readers is established by what I write.   If I start promoting a piece of junk because I could get one for free, or 90% off, then in no time, I’d have 10,000 “forum” type enthusiasts, all over my case.   Unlike print, where there is virtually no market mechanism to assure honesty, there is one online.

Our site’s success and growth has always been tied to our street cred, with the hard core enthusiasts who “live” on some of the forums.  Referral traffic from the forums, is only second to search engines, in terms of where our traffic comes from.  As long as we’re deemed both honest and credible, the traffic continues, which means we rank well on the search engines.  If our referrals start dropping from the industry forums, well, our rankings on google won’t be far behind.  Bottom line, recommending products that don’t deserve it, is the easiest way to put projectorreviews.com out of business. Kapisch?

BTW,

Bottom line, every two or so years, Projector Reviews tends to buy a new projector for the primary theater as my reference projector.   We get a discount, if I preferred a different projector, I’d probably get a similar discount).   Because I do get a nice discount, I can afford a better projector than otherwise, which means I can do my job better by having a better reference projector to compare the others to.

Next – accessories – Screens.

I don’t pay for screens.  I’ve got piles of them here, I’ve thrown out several.  In all my years of reviewing, only twice has a screen manufacturer asked for a screen back and in both cases, a unique, niche type, of very expensive screen.   The thing about screens – they come in so many variations that for a manufacturer, its a waste of time to get them back and try to sell them.  For example my motorized Stewart Firehawk screen – it’s an odd size – 128″, it’s got an odd amount of black drop material (19″  (I think) instead of the usual 12, and it uses one of more than 10 surfaces the company offers.  Theoretically Steward offers more than 1 billion screen combinations… Chances of finding a buyer for mine   “used”- for them, is unlikely.   So, they send them for review, and they sit around here.  At latest count, I’ve got 3 mounted screens and 6 just sitting around,  3 went to the landfill last year.  Those extras provide no benefit.  They just sit in the garage, in case a manufacturer changes their mind and want’s them back.

In our industry, most screen manufacturers will provide us with whatever screens I need for my two rooms.  This is a courtesy most of the companies offer to legit press.  I would not qualify as a blogger, but Projector Reviews does.   With our recent move, (late 2010), two new rooms – another Theater 1, and another Testing Room.  One of three new screens has already arrived and has been mounted.  Why do they give them to us?  Well here we frequently mention the gear we’re using – that’s half the point.  Describing how a projector looks in a room, with certain lighting depends on the type of screen.  I mention the screens I use, and why, they or others might work best for my readers’ room and conditions) in every review.   The manufacturers like that.  The print magazines do the same – listing all their gear..

As always, though, I will select the products that will do the best job, since relative cost will not be an issue.  When you read I’m using a Stewart Firehawk, or a Carada BW, or a dual masking Studiotek 130/3D surface, a Da-lite, or a Vutec, it is not because I got a better deal on that brand, but, because that is the screen is what the job calls for.

Other accessories.  Cables, extenders, etc.   Mostly companies offer me dealer cost.  My company also purchases some stuff from one industry distributor.  We expense and pay sales tax on that stuff too!  Nothing shocking. For example, I use some cables, and a number of switchers from Gefen.  I pay their normal dealer price, they do not give me anything special to my knowledge.  I’ve asked for free cables, but they keep charging me.  Darn.  I also buy cables directly from distributors when practical.  If they are used for the two theaters, they are expensed, like any other low cost item, as is proper.

Blu-ray players – I’ve got 2 Sony PS3′s bought from retail stores like Best Buy.  I’ve got a Panasonic 3D Blu-ray player, which I also bought at Best Buy, and normal store prices (arrgh).

Pico projectors – hmm, some ask for them back, but last year 2 companies didn’t care.   I felt the same way.  I have no use for one on any basis, and if I did, well there’s always going to be one or two newer better ones around, awaiting review.   They are gathering dust until the manufacturer’s arrange for a pickup.  Be damned if I’m going to spend my $20 to 2nd day a pico projector back to a company that doesn’t want it.  Eventually, they’ll end up in the trash or maybe my daughter will make a sculpture including them, and some nuts and bolts.  This year, don’t know, as we’re still working on them, but no one has asked for one back, except the LG HX300G, and that because it was borrowed from a dealer, not the manufacturer.

I have an AV receiver.  Due to be replaced, but purchased years ago, a Marantz THX cert AV receiver.  I bought that one back when I was a dealer, not press, so I guess that doesn’t count.

And that folks is what I own.

One more thing…  remember that rant at the top…   I’ve got to tell you all about any “deals” etc.  But, when you go visit a doctor, how come he/she doesn’t have to reveal how many samples they get, how many lunches and trips, etc. they receive from the Pharmaceutical companies.  Shouldn’t all of that – to be fair to bloggers – have to be posted in the waiting room of the doctor’s offices.   Also which insurance companies give them the highest reimbursements…

See what I mean.  All silliness!  -art

PS.  I still don’t know if I’m going to replace our RS20 (hi IRS)

News And Comments

  • Nate Y

    It’s sad/ridiculous that you even need to write this. We feel for ya, Art…never let “The Man” get ya down! Please never stop doing the work you do, otherwise they win.

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Thanks! – but ranting is fun…

  • Will Dearborn

    This seems like a completely fair and important disclaimer. I don’t see the need for all the anti-government, 1984, tin-foil hat talk leading up to it.

    Most sites that review products are usually self-obligated to divulge any discounts, freebies or passes the reviewers get from companies that produce the products. Some sites will refuse all types of gifts or discounts, no matter how miniscule or insignificant, from such companies out of principle, and others will recuse themselves from certain reviews if they have, for example, been given a tour of a facility or other such special access to a related company.

    It’s good for readers to know this, and it keeps industries honest and accountable, whether anything bad is going on or not.

    Also, could you post a link to this law, I can’t seem to find information about it anywhere.

    Very much appreciate you posting this.

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Thanks Nate,
      No Will, you are missing the point. This is one thing that really pisses me off.

      A doctor convicted of malpractice, relating to surgical deaths, can pack up his belongings and move to any other state, and open up, doing the same nastiness, and there will be not one disclosure, from the Medical Board of the state he moves to, to WARN potential patients that this person kills and maims his patients. Nor will that doctor be banned from practiciing in the state, as long as he as the proper paperwork (pass an exam). It happens all the time. and that’s with those same state boards being about as reluctant to punish a doctor as the teachers unions are, when it comes to protecting bad teachers from getting fired (not in my lifetime). They say doctors/hospitals kill more people than guns (true, and understandable, in the sense that many people are not savable), but even when you figure out just the deaths from people who shouldn’t have died under the doctor’s care, it’s a mind boggling number compared to the number of doctors who lose the right to practice in the US.

      Per a couple of studies
      • 12,000 deaths per year due to unnecessary surgery
      • 7000 deaths per year due to medication errors in hospitals
      • 80,000 deaths per year due to infections in hospitals
      • 106,000 deaths per year due to negative effects of drugs

      But, darn, if I get a lunch from JVC, my reviews are biased… I’m sure my reviews of HOME entertainment projectors need FAR FAR FAR more government scrutiny than say a politician, or those truly incompetent doctors that routinely move from state to state when their licenses are pulled.
      chi
      It’s sort of like – a government attitude, that bloggers are to the internet, what convicted child molesters are to local communities, if you can’t keep’m out, regulate them… and remember,this is only the beginning. There’s a lot of change coming, and more and more regulation of the internet is blowing in, this time, from “the left”. They want more taxes on it (especially local sales taxes on internet business) (btw, that’s dozens of billions a year. in new taxes) well, gotta go write something.

      Let’s start checking the blogs of every doctor, and ask them for full disclosure about all the free medicines, trips, etc. And if they’ve ever lost their right to practice, or have any dings on any state’s medical boards and records. I dont’ care if the doctor is blogging about home theater projectors… I want to know! Afterall, if he’s hiding info about his practice, can I trust his advice (or hers) about home theater equipment? Can I, Huh? Can I?… etc.

      Well, mostly I rant for fun, as is this case. I can take potshots at the government that I’m too chicken to take at manufacturers…

      Anyway, the summary: It’s the double standard. People in power, get the free ride, and the government thumps, its chest how it’s protected consumers from biased reviews of toys. for adults… amazing…

  • Ben Guzman

    Please throw away any screens in my direction.

    Thank you,

    Ben

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Understood. Here’s the skinny, though. I considered selling them off, for whatever, strange accounting dilemma, though. Seems the screens have value, even if not to me. That means when a manufacturer gives me one, and doesn’t take it back, seems I have to show its value as income? That is, someone “gave” the company a $2000 screen, which is the same as someone giving the company $2000. It’s an asset with value, which I’m supposed to expense or depreciate. That somehow complicates giving them away, as apparently that too is a taxable event of sorts, unless I “give” them to a non-profit, in which case it’s a wash.

      It’s our fun tax system… Besides, if I had exactly the screen you needed, you wouldn’t be local.. and they ship poorly without boxes. -art

  • Bill

    Art did you get rejected by medical schools? Why the anger towards doctors and teachers? Direct your rant towards the politicians not them? Besides if you have a heart attack who is going to save you then?

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Hey Bill,

      Naw, I was a business major Finance and Accounting. No anger at all towards doctors, or teachers (or rather to competent…), I, like most people have little use for incompetent people regardless of profession. You might want to re-read.

      My bitch is first and foremost with the politicians. The doctors may get a free ride on disclosures, (and that may be due to their powerful lobby), but ultimately it’s the politicians that have required me not only to waste my time, but to hold myself and other bloggers, to higher standards than they hold teachers or doctors. What’s with that?
      AND THAT’S the POINT – than they hold doctors or teachers. And I think most people will agree, that a doctors and teachers decisions are far more critical to their patients/students, than my bloggings on home theater, or someone blogging about pizza delivery companies, or hair shampoos.
      If my doctor’s prescribing Zocor instead of Liptor or Crestor, shouldn’t I know that the makers of Zocor took my doctor on a cruise, and the other two companies only bought him lunch? Or that my other doctor sits as an advisor (for pay) to a Pharma company, whose drug she prescribes. Now considering one of those 3 drugs is far more likely to have a side effect that damages the liver… Isn’t knowing which companies are essentially “paying” the doctor to prescribe their drug, when the choice of drugs could have a major effect on the medical outcome? If I bullshit you about the black levels of a projector, that’s not as likely put you in a potentially life threatening situation.

      Now, I don’t think my doctors would do any of that stuff, but if you are talking about potential conflicts of interest, they pretty much get a free ride. As to the Medical Boards, and bad doctors from moving from state to state, again, that’s the politicians… They could pass a law in PA: No doctor who has ever had their license suspended in another state, may not practice in PA… unless (and investigation, and full disclosure)… And the same law in 49 other states. Or the feds could do it.

      But, let’s cut the Feds a break, they’re too busy regulating bloggers. Not makers of bogus vitamins and supplements, but bloggers..

      It’s so stupid, as to be funny. As I said, I’ve been telling people all along, I just don’t like being told I have to or I’m a criminal. Let the politicians find someone elses life to make miserable. I’m too busy… -art

  • Bill

    Hey Art
    Your absolutely right on the bs they are giving you and completely understand what you are saying. I don’t think doctors get all that free stuff anymore. Pfizer got a 2 billion dollar fine for “buying” their doctors. But your right if someone loses their license in one state they shouldn’t be able to practice anywhere in the US. Nowadays its big businesses like GE who doesn’t pay any tax, lawyers and politicians who have screwed up the system. They get away with murder when small guys like you and I have to show everything. Don’t let them get you down, do what you do and we all appreciate you for your honesty and good testament on the products.

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Hmm, Oh, doctors still get stuff. A doc I know travels the world speaking at medical conferences. The tab isn’t being paid by him, or his hospital…

      As to GE, good for them. Remember, businesses get to carry forward losses with the IRS. You lose money for a year or two, and the next year you make money, you get to carry the loss forward. This always happens following a recession where many companies lose money. It means that it takes a couple extra years for tax revenues to get back to where they were. But, as a business owner, believe me, lots of companies simply would never recover from a losing year, without the tax forward. Then of course the federal government has always offered incredible tax breaks to get businesses to do what the government wants, when it would otherwise be a bad business decision. Consider the Chevy Volt and it’s $7500? tax credit. Hmm, it’s the only eligible car in the world. Without it, Chevy has never stood a chance of marketing the Volt, not when its price (as a pretty basic sedan) is not much different from a nice luxurious lexus which isn’t electric. But back to GE. GE is a huge government contractor, and get’s all kinds of tax breaks and credits for doing the Gov’s bidding, so to speak. The problem isn’t GM, it’s the government trying to steer private enterprise to do unprofitable things. The result is tax breaks to get them to do those things. GE’s a master of working those, because they are a huge government contractor. Ie. the gov might issue a huge tax credit if a company like GE spends 10′s, 100′s of millions in competition to design a new engine for NASA. Without the tax credits, would GE or others bother? Maybe, but this is all between the 535 members of Congress and their consciences. Businesses, orgs, and even individuals spend billions lobbying congress – no surprise, but if that money is swaying congresspeople to vote for things they don’t believe in, then it’s shame on them, not the companies or lobbyists. Everyone’s just playing by the rules Congress sets up. They can refuse the money, or they can take the money and vote their conscience, or they can be bought! -a

  • Peter

    Your spot on Art there,s too much double standards & lies just like this Libyan war the U.S U.K France Australian government really care about the Libyan people ,when there,s so much suffering in there own countries.(sorry about rant)

    Anyhow as Projector review readers all we really want is unbiased reviews so to see if its worth to upgrade our projectors.This the first site i go to when thinking it might be time for an upgrade because there,s no b.s!!!!!

  • PatB

    I read car magazines too. I don’t expect them to buy all those Ferraris.

  • http://NA Mike Garrett

    Art, there is a projector that I would love to see you review. It is the CRE X1000. It is a 1080p LED LCD projector that is selling for only $1,500. There is a thread with manufacturers link, on AVS and one buyer has posted about it. Here is the thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1307577
    Please let us know if this is a possibility.

    Mike

  • Name

    Oh, please just get over yourself. The government wants to protect consumers and you’ve got to turn it into a personal affront? Just state the facts and let the readers decide. Your defensiveness leads one to believe you do have something to hide and are, indeed, ashamed about your actions. Thou doth protest too much.

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Greetings Name!
      Well, at least I use my name…
      Yes, the gov says they do want to protect consumers, but, they are pretty incompetent. Not a great recent track record. They protected us so well from the housing bubble, from fannie and freddie, from the financial collapse, Bernie Madoff. Thousands, tens of thousands of auditors – noticed nothing… even when they were told things were wrong. (and none got fired either)
      Well, so much for a sense of humor… -art

      The point is the gov does’t require consumer reports, or Road and Track to divulge, or the new york times or the wsj – ever read Walt Mossberg’s column. He’s helps make (or break) many new gadgets. But, best I can tell, because it’s a newsprint column, and not a blog, there’s no legal requirement for them to divuldge. How absurd. I voluntarily always have.

      So, Name, what do you do for a living, and who monitors your job?

  • Name

    Art, as a business owner I am accountable to my customers, the IRS, the Better Business Bureau, local planning boards, conservation commissions, etc, etc. While I may question and fight an occasional unfairness of these “overseers,” I would never make a blanket complaint implying that they are all bad, stupid or wrong. Their existence is necessary and despite their flaws, are overall, beneficial to society. But again, I do think it’s fair to make complaints about and even fight against specific problems or injustices using the proper channels when necessary. What I find distasteful about your rant, however, is that what is being asked of you seems reasonable and indeed beneficial to our society. It’s become far too common for we Americans to only complain about our government and only see the bad. We’re becoming a bunch of spoiled brats that have no appreciation for what we have. Such laziness and disrespect is unwittingly fueling a movement that wants to topple what we have, not do the hard work of joining together and fixing the problems with dignity and honesty. Go ahead, keep ranting about how the government is picking on poor you while offering nothing sincere to improve your concerns. One day you may be looking back asking, “My god, what have I done.”

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Name, I’m sorry, but you keep missing the point. I’d love to know what business you are in? I’ll keep asking
      First, remember, the rant was for fun, just letting off a little steam. But, I enjoy the challenges.
      Here’s why this law is stupid, and I’m going to use what you said, as examples:
      BTW I too, am accountable to my customers, the IRS, the Better Business Bureau, local planning boards, conservation commissions etc.”

      Question, what state are you in. What type of company is it – that is – what do you do – who are your customers? Are you a member of the BBB, the Chamber, the AMA?

      In california, the government doesn’t require joining or answering the BBB. As to planning boards, meaningless, same for conservation commsissions – why because they aren’t the conusmer, that’s the government actually policing the laws they pass. That’s their job. to pass a stupid law, that does damage with no functioning enforcement mechanism is a totqal waste of taxpapers money as well as bolstering the less honest blogs over the honest ones. In fact I am more than happy to volunteer now to spend days in front of senate committees explaining to them how stupid this law is, and for all the reasons. I did not know that companies were required to belong to, and pay dues to the Better Business Bureau. You choose to do so or not, based on your business model. This is sort of like the government saying – yeah, you’ve got to disclose information to your customers, for whatever reason. The world is filled with stupid (and good) government actions, but this one is ridiculous, not by its intent, but by its incompetence. Do you/your company belong to any professional organizations? If so I guaranty you that sometimes they are lobbying against consumer protections If so, are you 100% sure they aren’t fighting any new potential consumer protections, then fine. If they do, how can you belong to that organization, since they are doing exactly what you say is wrong – challenging the government over (your words): If your trade group is lobbying and objecting to new consumer protections that might affect you, then the organization that you are paying for and supporting, is spending your money to fight what you believe should not be fought, but championed. That’s unethical, right? You might find this hard to believe, but I no longer belong to any trade organizations, years ago I belonged to quite a few. The reason is simple. I often don’t agree with some of the things they support.

      Consider – there is no enforcement mechanism, no one monitoring, etc. So, it is a system designed for abuse, or as we used to say. “designed to fail”. That is, the deceitful people will go on lying to the customer without really having anything to fear, giving that person a big advantage, theoretically, over an honest businessman. I’ve been telling people about how we do things from the beginning.

      But, I don’t see where you indicated that you were required to publicly show your sources of income. (When I receive a free screen, it’s not free per se. We have to treat it as income based on its value. If I can depreciate it, I get that money back over years… As an example, I received two Stewart screens this year, for the new rooms. Both will show up as capital purchases. The IRS will likely require either dealer cost or MSRP (msrp would be ridiculous too, because people don’t really pay list price for screens). So if the two screens are worth $4000 (by the IRS’s measure, then they are taxable income except for that portion which is depreciated, and that part which may be treated by a 179 exclusion (I am not an accountant, don’t quote me). Yeah the IRS makes you tell them, but notice that your tax returns aren’t public. Of course, that’s just a minor point. Let’s talk about the big one: Customers:

      My customers are my readers.

      Your point is that my readers need to be protected from all bloggers not just bad ones. A lovely idea, that would probably cost the government $20 billion a year to enforce at a minimum and considering – probably the addition of a few thousand new judges to handle if it was enforced.

      But there are mechanisms already out there. as you point out… What’s wrong with you looking me up with the BBB? Don’t you trust them? You trust what I write in my blog more than you trust the BBB? We’ll if you already believe more in a blog than the BBB, then why bother checking…

      I believe that for what I do, there are 3-6 organizations far more helpful to consumers, than this law ever will be, and they are easy to find for anyone using the internet (if they can find me, they can find any of the major forums). The forums are the real consumer reports of the blogging and reviewing industries. Period.

      Credibility of reviewers is oft discussed on the forums. I find my street cred there, to be pretty good. Since the forums drive over 50% of new non-search traffic to our site, and as major industry sites, what they send strongly influences how google ranks us… etc. and the search engines count for over half. So, bad street cred with the forums, less forum traffic, lousier google rankings, = plummetting readership, etc.

      So I don’t worry about this stupid law, except as I originally stated, to have fun doing a rant. Certainly the time I’ve had fun answering you guys, has cost me far more time (= money) than the time it would have taken to write a short itemization bury it on a blog no one could find, and be done with it. Best I can tell I could simply tack my “report” as the 33rd comment on a blog discussion about the overheating problem with the first batch of Epson HC8100′s 18 months ago. Probably no one’s looked at that in a year, but best I ca tell, posting it there would meet the government requirement.

      I think you are right about one thing. What they ask is reasonable. I’m not opposed to consumer protections. I just want something resembling fairness out there. You realize I can simply shut down the blogs, write all of this stuff (getting rid of the comment areas) and I’d be in full compliance, because again. it has to be a blog to qualify, I post the same review on the core site, and the blog, the one required I divuldge, the other doesn’t. How is that not stupid, I ask you.

      And for your business, whatever it is, these are the reasonable things that you must do, to protect consumers.

      1. Divulge your profit margins, by company and product. Afterall, if you are charging 30% on some products and 20% mark-up on others, then you and your sales force will be pushing the 30% product even if it’s inferior as product, or value. That’s the case with most businesses. Never met a business man who favored lower margins to higher ones unless it boosted market share. But given two similar products, most businesses paying commissions may a bigger payout for the higher profit sale. Or they have quotas to hit (the retailer) to get huge rebates back).
      So, two projectors – the xyz and abc. each slightly different, each roughly equal. One the dealer sells for 2300 the other for 2000, both cost 1700. When you talk to a dealer sales person who might just get a commission of 15% of the Gross profit of the sale (or 1-2% of selling price, whichever) So the sales person might make 15% of $600 = $90, or 15% of $300 = $45.

      Which will your people sell if they are on commission? And even many/most retailers who “claim” no commissions still often pay significant spifs or penalize employees for certain behavior – most notably spif programs to incentivize sales people to sell the more profitable product, not necessarily the better one. (I’ve heard (that’s second hand) plenty of “kids” working at, say places like Best Buy, that while they don’t get spifs, and aren’t required to sell lots of 3rd party warranties, that management will not be happy, and you won’t be going anywhere within the organization. Also, bonuses are often used, also to steer salespeople to sell more profitable product lines or products. Huge spifs on 3rd party warranty programs, (perhaps the most profitable thing in an electronics retailer’s collection of “products”) are common. SPIF = Sales Person Incentive Form = a “bribe” to a sales person for selling what someone else wants sold, not what the sales person thinks is the best product for the customer. So shouldn’t every spif and commission program, be posted by the front door of every business establishment.

      And while we are at it, every retail sales person in america should have on their badge how long they’ve worked for their current employer, what level of formal training received (in hours), and how long they’ve been in the industry… (I’d toss in “fired for cause” but we know the government would never allow such a breach of privacy for an employee.

      Every lawyer should provide a breakout of the % of total money they make with different kinds of setttlements, so the consumer understands that where a lawsuit, say is winnable with 80% probability for $1M, but the folks being sued offer $600,000. the lawyer may figure. I get paid only for a win. I’d rather have 1/3 of $600K, $200K than 80% chance of 1/3 of $1M or $333K. But he figures it will cost him $100,000 to fight the case in court, so he risks a only $33,000 by convincing the client to settle, against a 20% chance of nothing.

      Now, the client may very likely want to settle for the $600K, but is the client entitled to understand All the real reasons the lawyer is recommending taking the quick settlement.

      The lawyer is taking 20% risk against an increase in profit of about 17%, the client takes the same 20% risk, against an increased profit of 266K, or about 53% more at the end of the day.

      Look every study in medicine shows a key cost of the high cost of medicine in the US, includes absurd loads of paperwork on doctors offices. Some of that is valuable and important, and a lot of it s crap. Get rid of the crap, and maybe a doctor’s office with 6 admins and 2-3 doctors can become 3-4 doctors and 4 admins.. Don’t get rid of the important stuff. That would mean more people getting more treatment and less money being spent. That’s the correct direction.

      The fundamental problem is “who’s watching the watchers” in this case, who’s protecting the consumer from government waste, every stupid thing they shove onto businesses and individuals that are wasteful.

      So, if you sell product, then divulging your profit margins, spif programs, and commission structures, would better protect consumers. I trust you would also have no problem with that. If you are a service company, providing skills should you be required to publish the background and competence of each employee servicing the customer… If selling a service, you should be forced to require to tell your buyer, how long, and what experience each person of import that they will be working with, so the consumer can make a better choice.
      You might think FCB (huge ad agency is the best, because they have done incredible things for Levis, but when you sign up for them, are you sure that there will be any seriously experienced people on your team? The answer is yes, if you go to the trouble of asking.

      Your issue, is that you want to take all the responsibility away from the consumer.

      Look if this bill was to make any sense, then it would have required all businesses doing business in the US to report any free samples, etc, they provide. Then you have the beginnings of an enforcement mechanism, without all that, you just give the advantage to the deceitful ones who prefer to lie or ignore.

      Tell ya what. I assume with a chosen “name” of name, that you spend a lot of time on the net, and read a lot of blogs.

      Do me a favor, next 25 different blogs you see, how many have posted in depth information as required…

      Question: So, do you feel better or worse about Projector Reviews: 1) we have complied with this sillyness, and 2) we complain about it.
      So you are going to find my reviews more credible to someone elses who doesn’t complain about the law, but also doesn’t divulge the required detailed information.

      ” We’re becoming a bunch of spoiled brats that have no appreciation for what we have. Such laziness and disrespect is unwittingly fueling a movement that wants to topple what we have, not do the hard work of joining together and fixing the problems with dignity and honesty.”

      If what we have is a government which is terribly inefficient and very expensive at such things, then it should be changed. YOu are so happy with the social security system and that it will be broke before most of us can get anything out of it, so we should just leave it as is? Or should we demand it be fixed?

      I’m demanding accountability from a government that is terrible in the entire area of protecting consumers. If they want to do the job right, fine, I won’t even bitch I will cheer them on. But the list of things they do well (not barely adequately) is very, very short. I’ll be happy to add to mine with a list of things they do well in consumer protection. However, any consumer protection law that only addresses possible problems with new technology related things when the ‘old established” technology (in my case “print”) gets a free ride – they get to “volunteer’ info, “if they feel like it”. That’s fine with me, I always volunteered. I just normally mention here and there in many articles and reviews.

      But to do that, then every publication must be required not just bloggers. That most voluntarily do divulge, is wonderful. As has been the case with us. But I don’t consider bloggers of projectors to be singled out when CNet, and PC Magazine, and Home Theater Magazine don’t HAVE to. I think its important to report anything resembling gifts, if they are influencing what you write. I’ve confessed over the years, to being wined and dined at every trade show I’ve been to, for years as a dealer, then as a reviewer, etc. I’ve mentioned, I think as far back as 2005-6 about free screens (except for rare niche products), best I can tell, all screen manufacturers give screens to reviewers. So, what does that mean. Do I favor Vapex over a Carada over a Stewart, over a Da-lite, over a… when I have one or more here from most major manufacturers, and none cost me a cent.

      It makes reporting it meaningless. It only tells there readers that in some cases I’m using screens that I want to use, that I (my company) otherwise can’t afford. It just means that by having better screens I can do the rest of my job better. I don’t see how a reviewer with at least 3 basically different screen types available for viewing can even review properly. Hell reviewers who haven’t received at least 3 screens for free might be the ones who should have to report. If they don’t have good “test gear…” I would never consider completing a review of any home theater projector without watching it, at length with both high contrast gray and + gain white surfaces… Not to would be of no service to my readers.

      I’ve been rambling and editing for a bit, so some of this is out of order again:
      If they volunteer because its the right thing to do, then great, it’s the reason why I do. But a unenforceable law that encourages abuse, or rather favors those that lie or ignore it over those that comply, is a bad law. Period, and if stupid people passed that law, then they remain stupid until they fix it, and consumers should be screaming about it. I”m curious as to the BBB’s take on this…

      Consumer protection works in conjunction with caveat empor. let the buyer beware. Our government favors, oh, you poor consumer, you just aren’t smart enough, we’ll take as much of the decision making away from you. and when you fail to make the minimum effort, don’t worry, you can hire a lawyer and sue.

      I am dying to know what business you have. I’d really like to analyze your business and it’s interface to consumers (assuming you deal with people, not companies) for what you should be required by, say 10 new laws that I will be able to justify as easily as you justify this one. Such as revealing profit margins on everything you sell. (for the reasons above). Here’s a law for ya.

      No doctor or hospital can charge more to a direct patient of any procedure, visit, etc. than the minimum they would accept from an insurance company.

      Now that would be a consumer law that would save billions for every person with out or partial insurance, and even save those that do have insurance.

      What about that one. Like it?

      If I have to report every free cable etc, that arrives here, on a regular basis, I just want Sound and Video, and Residential Systems, and Home Theater Mag, and Home Entertainment, to have their editors do the same thing.

      Here’s how it should have been done. The government bullies the major trade organizations in our industry (it is (AV) one of the largest industries in the world.
      We want you as a trade organization to have manufacturers ask/require all bloggers who receive gifts of any sort to sign a pledge to divulge that. For those that do, they can post some official government statement like “cigarette smoking might cause you to cough” (yes we’ve toughened up the messages on cigarette taxes, but according to the assorted groups, over the last 50 years, the governments failure to make cigarettes illegal and ban them, has cost the “average consumer” over 1.5 years of their life.
      and months for all of us – due to second hand smoke, right?

      Well that’s about it, this will be my last long one, reviews to write, confessions to make. Please note, I received (Projector Reviews) a 200 lumen Acer projector the other day – pico projector. I won’t know until afterwords if they want it back. I reveal this critical information now, because I will be blogging later mentioning it, and 4 other projectors that arrived friday and this morning.

      And finally, “My god, what have I done” I surely hope so, because if enough of us say enough to stupid rules (not good ones) maybe someone in washington, or your local planning commission (we have the world famous 99.99% anti-business California Coastal Commission here, which is one key reason why the once great state, is almost devoid of any new “non-light” manufacturing jobs in the last 20 years, has the 2nd highest unemployment in the country, and probably we won’t see unemployment out here, down below 8% anytime in the next 4-5 years.
      later -art

  • http://NA Mike Garrett

    Art, did you look at the link for the CRE X1000 projector? It sure looks like an interesting projector to review to me.

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Yes I did. However that link seemed to be from a dealer… I haven’t looked far enough, but I don’t even know if these guys have operations here, or if this is a gray market product – that someone is buying overseas, where it is actively sold, and bringing it in here. If that’s the case, then it may also be one of if it breaks it has to go overseas for repair. That’s a critical. The only two projectors I think that I’ve reviewed since I started, that didn’t end up sold in the US, were an LG, and a Cinetron, and at the time both told me those were projectors about to be launched here. Neither made it to the US.

      When I looked at the page, and specs, one of the first things I looked for was warranty info. I may have missed it, but I didn’t notice any. I’ll have to look into that as well, I have no interest (other than curiosity) in reviewing projectors not sold in the US. The reason is simple… That’s where the large majority of our readers, are, but also because, writing about projectors not sold around here, is purely hobby. And sadly, this is also work. Other than minor revenues from Canada, all the advertising revenues (that reads “all revenues” come from US advertisers. When I get a chance I’ll try to dig deeper – I just took a quick look, and mostly at the specs, etc. On the other hand if you know if they have US operations, send me a link.

  • Name

    Art, again, please just get over yourself and stick to your day job. Projectorreviews.com is a good site and I applaud you for that. Your paranoid Unibomber manifesto nonsense? Notsomuch.

  • steveg

    This is what happens when JVC doesn’t come through with projectors to review. I blame them.

    • http://www.projectorreviews.com/members/lisasonfeier/ Lisa Feierman

      Hey, steveg, there ya go. Sure, if we want consumer protection, let the feds pass a law that requires that every manufacturer of everything consumer provides a fully sufficient amount of review units to satisfy the press, before they are allowed to ship product… Afterall, what good is knowing if JVC bought me a brew at CEDIA, if I haven’t been able to get projectors in to review… -a

      That wouldn’t be a problem for Epson, Mits, or Sony, but could put Runco, SIM2, and the other ultra high end folks out of biz. Imagine, having to build 15 (at least that many projector reviewers out there) of each of their $100K plus models, just for reviewers. That’s probably as many or more than they might sell of some of those. That way the government can REALLY help consumers, by increasing prices dramatically on low volume products, driving a lot out of business, and that means fewer (therefore simpler) choices for consumers. Surely that’s a benefit… Not practical for the same reason the gov doesn’t make Lambourgini, or other mid-high 6 figure car makers destroy several of each model for air bag and crash testing. Eventually, following that logic, we’ll end up with one car, one projector…and the consumer will be fully protected, in that they won’t be buying a less good value than the next guy. ah this is fun… as Bartles and James would say: “thank you for your support!” -art

  • Federico

    Art, see this as an opportunity. All this regulations are bu**s*it. IF someone gives a projector for free for testing and keeping, and Art decides to write something good in spite of it not being good, let that be hi choice. People need to learn to have a critical attitude. The problem with this kind of regulations is that you’ll be more than not screwed by more biased sources. Imagine this scenario: a manufacturer regularly places ads in a magazine, and when they don’t like something, they stop placing ads. Nothing related to a review. They just think these 6 months it’s best to do something else.

    What I mean is there are 99 ways more creative than others to get a message across to a source, and influence them. Without having to disclose anything. What this law does is piss off people. If someone is biased and good at it, you’ll NOT read anything about getting a discount for a projector. Actually, you’ll never hear about ever, and keep being influenced by them.

    Good luck!

  • Stephen Feren

    Hey,

    I’ve found your reviews very helpful; thanks. I need a projector for business use.

    If you really are tossing perfectly useful equipment, I will pay shipping for you to send it to our local public school. They can use all the AV equipment they can get. They receive a lot less funding than most schools in our state and are trying to pay good salaries to keep their experienced teachers. I can put you in touch with someone in the administration, if you would prefer to deal directly with them. Again, I’ll try to make this as easy for you as possible, if you’re willing to consider donating unused equipment.