Cisco, Logitech Botch Most Important Spec: Price

Includes: CSCO, GOOD, LOGI
by: Larry Dignan

Don’t be surprised if cash strapped consumers shun next-gen digital living rooms.

Logitech (NASDAQ:LOGI) and Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) this week delivered two big efforts to revamp your living room in the mold of their digital visions. We’re talking Google TV, telepresence and interactivity out the wazoo. We’re also talking about two efforts that are going to be too expensive.

Let’s start off with Logitech. Earlier this week, Logitech took the wraps off of its vision of Google TV. Logitech’s Revue is a $300 set-top box—yet another one—that brings Web content to your living room. The Revue also includes a keyboard to make Google TV searches easier.

Aside from Sam Diaz, I’m not seeing a lot of consumers camping out at Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) for this one. Why? It’s too expensive. Will consumers really fork over $300 for a set-top box that’s arguably inferior to the $100 one from Roku? Is true living room interactivity really you with an iPad checking fantasy football scores on the couch while you’re watching the Jets kick the snot out of the Vikings?

Color me skeptical. Sony (NYSE:SNE) has also reportedly leaked its Google TV pricing. Simply put, those TVs aren’t cheap either. Christsopher Dawson also wonders out loud about the Revue pricing. If the Revue isn’t subsidized somehow it’s toast.

And then there’s Cisco’s Umi. This immersive telepresence system will run you $599 with a $25 a month fee. You’ll also need some serious upload speeds. You need upload speeds of 1.5Mbps and 3.5Mbps for 720p and 1080p video quality, respectively.

At this point, Cisco only sees 32 million homes with the broadband and TV to support Umi. So go out and upgrade your broadband and buy a new TV and then fork over $599 for the Umi system.

Sounds great eh?

Bottom line: These digital living room experiments are all just swell. The specs look good too. The only problem is that tech companies forgot the biggest spec of all—price. With unemployment nearing 10 percent, I’m not so sure that people are going to be jumping through financial hoops in the name of a digital living room.

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