I think the reason TV's are so cheap is that the technology is old. The money has already been made on the TV. In the restaurant industry we say "it's all gravy from now baby." Back in the old days, we didn't need all this processor speed. A radio shack word processor with a 300 baud modem would work for almost anything. Text was all we had. We walked to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways and we punched cards with our teeth. Okay maybe I'm exaggerating. Believe it or not, computers have been dumbed down since 1975. We need WYSIWYG interfaces because people just don't have the time to mess with their config.sys. Lotus was invented because nobody had time to write SAS code. What we're doing right now can be accomplished without such a WOB.
I don't think we don't demand excellence from the automotive industry. We just do it in different ways. Airbags, crumple zones, low speed resistant bumpers, automatic tensioning seatbelts, "smart" airbags, MCS, COMAND, teleaid, ESP, HID headlights, seatwarmers, non-collapsible passenger compartments, parktronic and drive by wire systems, CD players, and even more important, cupholders. We want cupholders like we want MS Windows and the manufacturers provide. Perhaps if we stop demanding so much from them the auto manufacturers will return to things dear to the Mercedes heart. We just won't be able to sip our lattes on the way to work without spilling on our tex interiors
PS: Right now I'm using a Mac LC475 with 8 megs of RAM. It's slow as a 240D but it's lasted me 6+ years now.