Then and Now: Tech Prices

There's an interesting article at the Mercury News about how low the DVD player prices have fallen and the amazing drop in prices in general for technology over the past 6 years... Here's the interesting bit:

I took a nostalgic journey to our newsroom library, pulling out microfilm for the Friday, May 23, 1997, Mercury News, and printed out the eight-page Fry's Electronics advertising section. Then I placed the copies next to the eight-page Fry's Electronics section from last Friday's paper.

Then-and-now comparisons are astounding:

San Jose-based Fry's sold a 2.1-gigabyte hard drive for $179 in 1997; this year, a 200-gigabyte hard drive -- 100 times bigger! -- cost $139 after mail-in rebate.

A 27-inch color TV was $249 in 1997, $129 in 2003.

A digital camera with a measly 76,800 pixels of resolution was $199 in 1997; a digital camera with 1 million pixels is $97 in 2003.

A Sony desktop computer with a 200 megahertz processor, 32 megabytes of random-access memory (RAM), 3.8 gigabyte hard drive and a CD-ROM drive cost $2,199 in 1997; a Sony desktop PC with a 2.4 gigahertz processor, 256 megabytes of RAM, 80 gigabyte hard drive, DVD recorder and CD-ROM drive is $799 in 2003.

There's also a long list of products advertised this year that didn't exist in 1997, including flat-panel LCD displays for desktop PCs, high-definition televisions, MP3 music players, satellite radio receivers, digital video camcorders, WiFi wireless networking equipment and USB thumb drives.

It's insane really. I ran into this recently when my parents bought a run-of-the-mill PC at Walmart and it was easily four times the computer that I'm using right now. My goodness, 200GB for $140? I've got to get out of the house more, I hadn't realized the prices had gone that low.

That scariest part is thinking about what it's going to be like in ANOTHER 6 years...


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