November 24, 1999
A major consumers’ magazine reported on 26 characteristics of VCRs in their 1998 buyers’ guide. Of those characteristics, a BLS study found that consumers paid the most for the more sophisticated video platforms: Multi-format converters that can play more than one tape format, dual-deck VCRs, and S-VHS players that produce superior resolution.
Among other price determining characteristics, up-scale brand names and the latest cutting edge features had the most impact. The feature with the largest price tag provides on-screen TV listings with one-touch VCR programming. Other features with a strong impact on price include "flying head" edit features and "index plus."
A separate analysis shows that the number of features alone has a significant impact on the price of a VCR: Those VCRs that are "fully loaded" are generally more expensive no matter what type they are.
These findings were part of a study of quality adjustment techniques for the Consumer Price Index program. The technique used to estimate implicit prices for videocassette recorder characteristics is called hedonic regression. For more information see "Adjusting VCR prices for quality changes: a study using hedonic methods," by Paul R. Liegey and Nicole Shepler, Monthly Labor Review, September 1999.