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New Sapphire Decoder from Hornby

10576 Views 64 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Ravenser
Hornby are proud to announce the introduction of a new multi function decoder for those Digital enthusiasts who like to customise the control of their locomotives. The Hornby Sapphire will offer many, if not more features, including RailCom® than the Digital enthusiast would expect from a top of the range decoder.

Available in the second quarter this addition to the Hornby Digital range of products is a positive step towards Hornby's commitment to Digital control for model railways.

This is very welcome news indeed. Lets just hope that the decoders are available
soon. I'm secretly hoping that they are actually Lenz Gold decoders with a big
Hornby logo on top and sold for half the price of the normal Lenz...


Also in the News is info about Hornby offering DCC Ready locos - of the
models that were originally only to be releases as DCC Fitted. Se

for more.
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Don't just think "British market" when considering Hornby DCC .
Their European ambitions are far wider than the "home market".

Now put yourself in the position of a company like Lenz.
I agree they'll want to protect their corner of the market, but when the "big boys" want to come in and play it becomes a different "ball game".

If the Hornby group intend to fit standard decoders and offer others as accessories, it will becomes a potential threat to the established DCC manufacturers' market share.
At the moment Hornby have a "ropey" budget decoder and the promise of an "all singing, all dancing" model; but who's to say what products they'll have next year or the year after. It may also transpire that competition with other RTR manufacturers may result in a "spec. war".
If Hornby "get into bed" with one of the competing decoder manufacturers, Lenz may find the Gold and Silver have been usurped and bang goes their market share.

Likely scenario? I really don't know.
I think Lenz will judge how the wind is to blow before trying to fight the newcomers.
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QUOTE (rb277170 @ 21 Jan 2007, 20:23) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>DCC Ready is the way ahead.

Surely fitting satisfactory decoders instead of half baked ones would be better for DCC users.
Non-DCC users should have the option of DCC ready.
"The way ahead" ? On the contrary, just offering DCC ready takes us nowhere.

Personally I would prefer to fit Lenz Gold and Silver decoders in all my locos, but if a new RTR model comes with an equivelent decoder (or better) pre-fitted, then I would be pefectly happy.
Lots of people would prefer not to have to take their locos apart and I don't just mean the trainset market.
QUOTE (dwb @ 21 Jan 2007, 20:38) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>>Their European ambitions are far wider than the "home market".
They'll need something _very_ convincing to break into the German speaking market.



We are only seeing the beginning of their launch into the DCC arena.
What they are offering now are their first products.
I'll guarantee things will have moved on significantly in a couple of years time.
Good points Neil, especially about the prices the UK market are prepared to pay.
I think it's because of the age profile, with the majority of modellers here being retired folk.

I still think companies like Lenz have something to worry about if and when mass market companies like Hornby start offering Locos fitted with decoders equivellent to the Silver or Gold.
At the moment Hornby have stumbled in with "dodgy" budget kit, but this will change, as we see better spec items appearing.
Similarly if some of their separately available decoders can offer this type of quality but at a lower price, then the established companies will have a problem. Add to that "market presence", i.e. Brand names available at virtually every model rail outlet and many toy shops, as opposed to limited dealers and availability.

Moving further up-market for the likes of Lenz will only reduce their market share and make them niche players; well more so than now!

Again, forget about Hornby being a brand limited to the UK and a few other markets.
Their main operation is becoming European under the recently aquired brands, where, by their own statements, they intended to make their presence felt, albeit in the budget/middle sectors.
Hornby DCC under other brand names, will be sold there too. They wouldn't have gone it alone just for the UK market.

My personal wish is for Choice, Competition and Quality at affordably prices.
Brand loyality comes low down in my own list of priorities.

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 22 Jan 2007, 18:20) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>...Don't forget Hornby's main market is the UK.
Not anymore it isn't (well soon anyway).
Hornby have aquired all those European brands because it see's it future in breaking into the Continental markets. The UK is regarded as having little or no growth potential, even a shrinking market.
That's why Hornby are spreading themselves out and while continuing in the home market have ambitions to"crack markets like Germany, at least at the budget/hobby/toy end.
QUOTE They will have to go some to crack the european (especially German) markets. The european modeller is so totally different from his/her UK counterpart. Why do you think Marklin (stud contact AC) is so strong in europe ?
I'm sure they will have a tough job, but I remember all the discussion on German and Austrian manufacturers pricing themselves out of business.
Haven't we seen quite a few companies going bancrupt or near bancrupt in the last year?
There seems to be an opening for a canny operator there?

QUOTE ...the whole Select/compatability/problems issues will have done them no favours at all.
Yup! could be quite damaging?
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Although not the biggest player there, I would guess the US if by far the biggest market for Lenz as it's the biggest market for model railways (like most consumer items)?
QUOTE ....and I don't really see N gauge as ripe for DCC yet in the way HO and OO are.

In the UK, Dapol seem to think so. They are modifying most of their range to accomodate decoders, despite
George Smith saying it would never catch on only two years ago. Then again he said there was no market for "modern image" and two years later it constitutes the bulk of his new releases!

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