Murph, perhaps I misled a little in my Sony response. I don't think Sony was always overpriced, subpar equipment, I just feel they fell into the trap of becoming too big for their britches. I think they definately came out with quality products in the beginning, but then as their reputation grew, they let their name carry them to places they didn't deserve to be.
I still remember the day I stopped looking at them through beer googles, it was back in the mid 90's and a friend of mine & I were both on the market for a 36 inch tv (the biggest CRT you could get at the time). We had both always been Sony fans, but when we got down to visit our local electronics stores, the Sony's were damn near twice the price of the other brands, and to my eye, was exactly the same, not twice as good!
I was asking a salesman about a Sony and another tv which looked identical to it, and I can't remember which brand exactly the other tv was (I'm thinking maybe JVC?), but the salesman told me that both of the picture tubes came down the same assembly line & had all the same parts, but then one went into a Sony, and the other into the other brand, and the Sony got marked up because of their name.
That turned me right off... Why should I pay $500 extra bucks to have 'Sony' stamped on my television? So when it was all said and done I wound up with a Toshiba which cost me like $1200 bucks while my buddy plunked down something closer to $2000 for a Sony Vega or whatever they were called. And everytime I was over at his place watching tv I couldn't help but to laugh under my breath as I thought to myself, "this thing isn't any better than my tv, poor sucker".
Since then I've only bought a couple Sony products (including the DVD player I currently use), and that was only when the product in question was priced competetively with the direct competition.