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Is it safe to assume that dcs is likely cheaper to license than tmcc? The sounds and remote are usually considered to be much better with Lionel (especially legacy). Furthermore, lionels brand name is also high value and compatibility with Lionel is extremely convenient. Add that to the fact that mth’s announcement about  closing was well before the atlas announcement,  makes me think this may have been a bit of a fire sale (at least a little). Thus, my conclusion is that dcs is a cheaper to much cheaper license than Lionel tmcc. Let me know what you guys think of my logic. If it is correct, it would in theory bring down the cost of atlas engines a tad. Obviously we’ll know more in less than a week.

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It’ll never be known what Atlas paid for the DCS license. And it doesn’t matter anyway. It’s a pipe dream to think prices are ever going to go down. Atlas O trains were already more costly that MTH. TMCC is older technology that Lionel abandoned for Legacy control.

For MTH to finally license DCS, I’m sure it didn’t come cheap. DCS was planned to continue on with new improvements coming. From what the Atlas video says, it seems the acquisition of MTH tooling has been in the works for a while. It’s looking more and more to me that this deal was more about Atlas getting access to the MTH factory than the tooling.

I don't see prices coming down. Even if it costs Atlas less to manufacture, I think I'd keep the profits! Atlas has experience with DCC in its HO line. Personally, I don't see the value in an investment in DCS. Atlas uses third-party decoders so bringing development of a competing command system in-house seems expensive. For those using DCS, it's important, but if I were running Atlas, I wouldn't invest in it. I'd try to increase my O gauge market share for as little as possible and make use of the existing tooling and factory.

I would speculate Atlas did this deal to get access to a reliable O gauge factory.  The DCS license gives them the ability to offer a product to the O gauge market that does not overlap with and consist of an inferior operating system to Lionel Legacy.  I hope however they continue to offer TMCC and DCS as a way to keep the market healthy for ERR and the new DCS spinoff.

I don't see prices coming down. Even if it costs Atlas less to manufacture, I think I'd keep the profits! Atlas has experience with DCC in its HO line. Personally, I don't see the value in an investment in DCS. Atlas uses third-party decoders so bringing development of a competing command system in-house seems expensive. For those using DCS, it's important, but if I were running Atlas, I wouldn't invest in it. I'd try to increase my O gauge market share for as little as possible and make use of the existing tooling and factory.

They also have experience with DCC on the O scale 2 rail side. I am not sure what brand of decoder/sound system they have been using lately (for 2 rail) but what I heard was that at some point they were supposed to switch over to ESU Loksound for the 2 rail decoders. I don't know if this ever happened but if their plan is to now start using PS3 in all of their O scale locomotives due to the fact that PS3 has a DCC decoder built in it isn't hard to guess that many 2 rail guys will feel this is a step backwards. I personally like PS3 but there is no doubt the ESU Loksound decoder has better sounds and more sound options. If I had a choice I would definitely prefer the ESU Loksound decoder over PS3.

Another thing to consider is there is NO WAY that the current PS3 boards will fit in the Atlas SW or MP15. The bigger locomotives yes, but not those small switchers with the horizontal drive. My opinion.

It's a pretty good guess that regardless of the cost of the DCS license, Atlas prices will be higher than MTH prices were, for many reasons, but we will see.  My other guess is that this license cost Atlas nothing upfront, but will be a royalty arrangement per piece sold.  Atlas invests next to nothing and Mike Wolf and any successor companies get an income stream that wouldn't have occurred. Given market conditions, the disappearance of the MTH brand, any substantial capital investment by Atlas would seem to be an unwise strategy, at least to me.

As far as TMCC showing up in these former MTH products, I wouldn't hold my breath.  They are engineered to use DCS and redesigning for TMCC is additional capital investment that may or may not see a return.  Once again, we'll see, but it seems like, at least initially, the odds of seeing TMCC and PS3 both being offered are not favorable.  I hope I'm wrong, since I have little interest in PS3 locos at this point.  I have a few, but that's it.

Last edited by Landsteiner

My personal feeling is that it is unrealistic to expect prices on just about anything, including our model trains, to go down in the near or even not-so-near future. Perfectly understandable if you keep up with what is happening on the national and international scenes. I am just VERY happy that Atlas is continuing the cream-of-the-crop of the MTH Premier line, and I am perfectly willing to be patient to see what results from the acquisition (consistent with the fact that I am a seasoned senior, and probably can't wait too long ).

Companies are not in business to lower prices, they are in business to make a profit. Altas just bought part of MTH tooling and other items, some one has to pay for that purchase. That someone is going to be us-the consumer. There is going to be no cost saving with an outlay of capital like that, we are going to pay for that. Furthermore why would they pass the cost savings on to the consumer? Atlas already knows they have a large customer base that will continue to purchase MTH, do you honestly think they just swooped this up because they though it was a "good deal"? No, I'm sure a lot of thought, cost analysis, profit margin and other items accountants take into consideration went  went into this purchase before they approached MTH. And even if all these items were cheaper to manufacture than Lionel, why on earth would you lower prices? That extra income would go towards re-investment into the company and to pay down the debt they took one to purchase the tooling, and other items. I have never seen any company purchase something without raising prices. Economies of scale work for the company, not the consumer.

.... Personally, I don't see the value in an investment in DCS. Atlas uses third-party decoders so bringing development of a competing command system in-house seems expensive. ...

Atlas is not bringing manufacturer of DCS in house. DCS will be developed by a separate company yet to be named but still property of Mike Wolf. Atlas will just have the license to use it, not develop or manufacture DCS.

Oh, I see. I suppose Atlas can then use the tooling and license to produce DCS-ready locomotives. It would save the expense of installing new firmware at first. Otherwise? Color me dumb, but I just don't see DCS as a growth market. Maybe something to do with the DCC capabilities? I was looking at Lionel Legacy S gauge locomotives this morning and some of them are advertised as being DCC capable. DCC seems to be very popular and widely used, at least according to the many online groups. I've been using DCC for years and it can be simple to get going, but it can also get complicated really fast.

Hard to say what Atlas paid for the DCS license, but I can see where it would be desirable to have that license since Proto-3 incorporates sound and control, plus includes DCC operability. The flexibility and availability of sound sets (I presume they'll have access to all of those as well) is a big plus and hopefully the DCS operation remnant will provide new sound sets down the road.

@Csxcellent posted:

I’m fairly new (no permanent layout and Christmas layout for 5-7yrs), but wasn’t one of mth’s selling points being cheaper than Lionel? This was part of my formulation when I made my first post.

Yes. But the price difference between Lionel and MTH has nothing to do with Atlas O trains.  With Lionel, you’re paying the higher price for the brand name recognition. MTH came in less expensive to be able to compete. Atlas O product is more detailed and tends to make trains more like the prototypes.

The real value in O gauge was K-Line. It’s a travesty that they couldn’t stay in business.

@Landsteiner posted:

It's a pretty good guess that regardless of the cost of the DCS license, Atlas prices will be higher than MTH prices were, for many reasons, but we will see.

As far as TMCC showing up in these former MTH products, I wouldn't hold my breath.  They are engineered to use DCS and redesigning for TMCC is additional capital investment that may or may not see a return.

You're probably right but for me the higher the prices go the more 3rd Rail locomotives become even more attractive.

While I agree with you that MTH products are engineered to use DCS I think it would be very easy to change a few things and install TMCC if they wanted to. If the users like us can do it I am sure Atlas could do it even more efficiently.

I'm thrilled that Atlas will produce engines with DCS PS3!!!  I have an evntire fleet of MTH DCS locos.  I have been very concerned over the past year or so.  I only hope and pray that someone makes an attachment to the TIU  that will enable it to receive signals for MTH handheld remotes.

I greatly prefer the remote to my phone or a tablet.  We operate on our railroad.  We just don't watch them chase their tail in an unending pursuit.  It is too inconvenient and a pain in the rear to carry a laptop around.  In addition, many of my operators do NOT wish to burn up their phone battery just running my railroad.

I would gladly pay the "new" DCS company the extra money needed to incorporate the technology that would continue to allow those of us who have sunk thousands and thousands into their product to be able to continue to use the product.

Fortunately, I have acquired multiple TIUs and Remotes, just in case none would ever be produced again.  I hope and pray that I've wasted my money and DCS systems are readily available soon, soon, soon, and also the DCS company either incorporate the capability for remote, or create a product to plus into the TIU the "newer" TIUs that will allow for the remote.  My dream.

Last edited by John C.

I think Brian really hit it on the head with 2 quotes:

"It’s looking more and more to me that this deal was more about Atlas getting access to the MTH factory than the tooling."

Bingo!  I believe this has been Atlas' real problem over the past few years - manufacturing.  And the deal solves the issue.

"The real value in O gauge was K-Line. It’s a travesty that they couldn’t stay in business."

Amen, amen, amen!  There are some aspects of MTH that I will miss, e.g. accessories, steel-related cars, PRR N6b's.  DCS is not one of them.  K-Line, however, was on the verge of eclipsing everyone in 2004 before their somewhat sketchy decisions sank them.

George

@MichRR714 posted:

Everyone knows that Atlas has some locomotives in the pipeline that were announced with TMCC that haven't been delivered.

The fact they have something available for order with TMCC really doesn't mean anything.

Has anyone just straight up asked Atlas if TMCC will be available on future O scale locomotives?  I just sent them an email asking just that...

@Landsteiner posted:

"TMCC locomotives are available for -order from Atlas."

I wonder how old that listing is given the price of $290 or so.  Seems on the low side for a TMCC equipped loco from Atlas.  Eventually they will let us know definitely what is going on regarding production of TMCC locos, no doubt. Just not yet.  Maybe they don't know for sure.

I'd bet money that's the price for the conventional version.  No way the list price for the TMCC version is under $300.

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Since we're indulging in speculation, here is mine.

Lionel licenses TMCC for Atlas O products but has reserved the more advanced Legacy system for its own products. Atlas O hasn't used Legacy either because Lionel would not license it to them to preserve its exclusivity or Lionel required a higher license fee than Atlas was willing to pay. So, Atlas has had to use an inferior system.

It seems that MTH will be continuing to make, upgrade and license DCS, which also includes DCC that can be used for 2-rail O scale, a market segment to which Atlas sells. Therefore, by using DCS under license from MTH, Atlas O will have a system that is competitive with Legacy. That's why I expect to see Atlas O products exclusively with DCS.

Just conjecture on my part.

MELGAR

@Csxcellent posted:

Is it safe to assume that dcs is likely cheaper to license than tmcc? The sounds and remote are usually considered to be much better with Lionel (especially legacy). Furthermore, lionels brand name is also high value and compatibility with Lionel is extremely convenient….

The cost of any licensing deal has more to do with the quality of the salesman negotiating the deal than the quality of the product(s) being licensed.

@Rich Melvin posted:

The cost of any licensing deal has more to do with the quality of the salesman negotiating the deal than the quality of the product(s) being licensed.

It’s looking like mth dcs got a decent deal, as prices are either the same (44 toner) or higher (sd40-2). Also, I’m wondering if the chip shortage and inflation are showing up in train prices (we’ll see the next Lionel catalog prices).

It looks like the demise of TMCC at Atlas was a bit premature. TMCC locomotives are available for -order from Atlas.

https://shop.atlasrr.com/p-406...e-iron-range-52.aspx

@MichRR714 posted:

Everyone knows that Atlas has some locomotives in the pipeline that were announced with TMCC that haven't been delivered.

The fact they have something available for order with TMCC really doesn't mean anything.

Yeah those have been available to order on their website for like over three years AFAIK.

A question for Those who use DCS primarily: does it make any difference to you as an Atlas customer if Atlas offers both DCS and TMCC or would you prefer Atlas only offer DCS? I could be wrong, but my sense is that DCS users would prefer that Atlas offer DCS only. But it might be a misunderstanding on my part.

I could care less what they offer.  But whatever they offer should work well in lash-ups, and TMCC leaves a lot to be desired in that arena.  I also want prices to remain in check, and I think offering two systems make it more challenging to keep the price lower.  Plus more SKUs usually means more complexity and makes it harder for customers to find what they want.  DCS allows you to run with DCS and DCC (as of PS 3.0) as well as conventional AC and DC operation.  Because of that, I think it makes sense for Atlas WRT their business segments.

Last edited by rplst8

A question for Those who use DCS primarily: does it make any difference to you as an Atlas customer if Atlas offers both DCS and TMCC or would you prefer Atlas only offer DCS? I could be wrong, but my sense is that DCS users would prefer that Atlas offer DCS only. But it might be a misunderstanding on my part.

It makes no difference to me.  I like and root for all the O gauge brands as it gives us more variety and quality.  Ten years ago I owned no MTH locomotives but got turned onto them by the price/quality formula after having a string of bad luck with Lionel.  Not to turn this into a debate, that is just what happened to me.  But if it makes sense for Atlas to offer both, then I view that as a good thing.  The practicalities and economics will probably dictate DCS only going forward.

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