but they choose not to be. that's their downfall. everyone knows that their product is always more expensive, just because the Sony name is on it.
I think it stems from the the same problem that the record companies have. Old guys that are stubborn and out of the loop and don't get. Add onto that old Japanese execs who are historically proud and (probably) stubborn, and who probably don't have subordinates that are willing to call them out on their bad decisions.
I think if they priced competitively against Panasonic in the HD market they would be the market leader by far.
MMCD (the precursor to DVD)
and, soon to be, Blu-Ray (HD-DVD is cheaper and it's already here).
It seems they're the first to come out with the technology, but they never prosper. Kinda like what happens with their WEGAs (I think Tom or Molly talked about that once in a podcast). WEGAs are clearly the de facto standard for HDTVs, but other companies come along and copy Sony's technology and make it cheaper.
P.S. Yeah, MiniDisc belongs somewhere in there; but I don't think anybody really took that one seriously!