Retail Markup Is Outrageous! Or About Cabling Oversell

February 10th, 2008 · No Comments

Our recent Tivo HD and HD-DVD purchases have caused us to need one more TOSLINK fiber-optic digital audio cable (because one of them, I forget exactly which, didn’t come with it and it only uses fiber-optic and not coaxial wire.) So I went on a search online. It turns out you can buy a 6 foot TOSLINK cable on Amazon for only $0.50 — thought I can’t seem to reproduce that when using their product referral so the product link near here takes you to the $1.50 version.

Now a fiber optic cable sends digitally encoded data. As a result, it either works or it doesn’t, there is no middle ground. Yet when I go to my local B&M stores, they only have products that advertise “oxygen free!”, “improved signal path”, “double insulated”, or some such quackery. To make matters worse, the cheapest I could find after trying 4 different stores was $12.99 and the next cheapest was $16.99! Holy cow that’s ALOT more than through Amazon.

Admittedly, you do pay a shipping cost when ordering online, but these things are light. The quoted shipping to me for the product above was only $2.98, making the total out the door to me a whopping $4.47. Or about 1/3rd the cost of the local B&M. Is this purely because of the retail markup that goes towards paying their rent and utilities? Or are they just trying to sucker consumers into paying more for something based on clearly bogus marketing claims? I think its a bit of both.

Tags: Home Theater

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