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I think the more ominous long term signal is the lack of production of starter sets (never a big seller, perhaps, but important to bring people into the hobby with your technology) and lack of production of track. Basically limited runs of a few locos and a range of rolling stock (freight only). This approach is not a sustainable one for many present DCS and all future DCS users is my thought. Are you going to buy an MTH locomotive now unless you plan to operate it in conventional? If you are interested in command, are you going to buy an MTH loco if DCS components are not widely and readily available? This will be a more obvious to the new consumer issue once Lionel manages to get its base 3 on the market and starts shipping cab-1L's again.

Basically, we are in the Twilight Zone here for the future of this segment of the hobby. Lots of vaporware :). But Lionel's vaporware seems more likely to become reality at this point.
 

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"What is Lionel's vaporware? "

I was trying to be fair. Right now Lionel does not have for sale any command base or handheld remotes. Neither does MTH. That's reality. Is Lionel's promise to provide cab-1Ls and Base 3s more likely to be reliable than MTH's promise to develop a new remote and continue development of DCS? I'd say yes, but right now, those are promises, not products. I'm known as a Lionel fan. I own MTH rolling stock and continue to purchase same. Do I think MTH's current business model is sustainable for years, much less decades (I'm not likely good for more than another one or two of these)? Heck no.

If I was someone in their 20-60s entering the hobby, I'd be buying Lionel sets, locos and command equipment and largely ignoring MTH locos and command equipment as being unlikely to be around for the coming years and decades. But I could be completely wrong. MTH is in the "prove it" stage of their evolution, as far as I can see. Lionel is likely here to stay for decades. Time will tell. Right now, it is frustrating for those who want to purchase either MTH or Lionel command equipment. Hence, my use of the term vaporware.
 

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If the new MTH DCS company doesn't come through and goes out of business, I would expect some third party to make a box that emulates DCS signals operable through the Lionel Base 3 down the road. In this scenario, it's even possible that Lionel would make such an emulator, perhaps licensed from the remnant MTH company. So don't worry, be happy for now.

You can alter PS2 and PS3 locos to TMCC for about $100-200 each (if you do the work yourself) using ERR modules. Cost increases if you want digital sound.

This is a changing market in terms of costs, of course, with everything on the increase. Personally, I'd just keep using the DCS system until it dies or replacements are available. If the replacements don't reach the market, then make the decisions that work best for you.
 
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