back to article TV sales PLUMMET. But no one's prepared to say what we all know

TV sales are falling everywhere. It’s kind of official, but people are still prepared to argue about it. The number of LCD screens are being forecast to recover but no one is giving a reason why, as the number of TVs that they ship in, are definitely not rising. There is lots of intelligence out there in TV land, but the two …

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  1. Chris Ashworth

    Bets on when the global economy will have to adjust to the fact that 'growth' aka consumption is not an end of itself and resources are not limitless?

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      "consumption is not an end of itself and resources are not limitless?"

      But it was always thus. Nobody in the real world (ie excluding millionaires) consumes for itself, they consume because newer products offer more than the existing equipment, or because the old stuff has worn out. The problem for TV's, mobile phones, computers is that the speed of useful end product innovation and improvement has slowed down, and the reasons to "upgrade" are becoming less compelling. And having had significant waves of innovation-driven upgrading, the demand side is stuffed with newish kit, creating a lull in "wear out" renewals.

      If the TV makers came up with a compelling reason to spend £500 on a new set, people would buy it. Over older, smaller CRT tubes, a nice big flat screen was a no brainer, offering a far better experience, and well timed for the DTTV changeover. But 4K is currently too expensive and has little content., and arguably doesn't offer enough difference in quality on living room sized sets. 3D has been and gone as a technology that didn't offer a good enough experience to make it worthwhile, and IMHO Blu-ray will eventually do the same. Smart TV's still await a really good implementation, and the opportunity to sell sets on their smart capabilities has probably been supplanted, because whilst the makers messed around the market moved on, so that for casual browsing and emailing the solution is tablets.

      Resources may not be limitless, but that's not stopping anybody upgrading (more like how many 42" screens do you need?), either the lack of need, or the cost, which reflects manufacturing technology and ability to pay as much or more than resources.

      1. Truth4u

        "they consume because newer products offer more than the existing equipment, or because the old stuff has worn out."

        Do you not understand that the old stuff was designed to wear out? Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades using 1920s technology. There is a lightbulb in america that's been burning for over 100 years. Then the Phoebus cartel was set up to limit bulb life to 1000 hours and we've been sliding into tyranny ever since.

        LCD sets that don't fail from physical damage almost always fail from poor quality capacitors in the power supply which can be cheaply replaced to create a fully working set. Manufacturers know this and their contribution is to make the cases hard to open so you can't save yourself £500.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

          I am afraid that anybody who actually knows any metallurgy knows that the first and last examples are rubbish, and though I'm no expert on polymers I believe the second one is as well.

          Anybody can make a light bulb last a very long time; under-run it. The problem is that incandescent bulbs are horribly inefficient to start with, and when significantly under-run, the cost of electricity to produce a given light output becomes many times the cost of the savings in light bulbs. 1000 hours has proven a good tradeoff in practice, with 2000 hours for halogen bulbs. Even so, LED bulbs now have a much lower TCO. My textbook on tungsten chemistry and physics has all the details.

          Extremely hard materials like WC do not lend themselves to making very sharp blades suitable for razors. Again there is perfectly good physics and metallurgy behind the design of razor blades, which use much less metal now than they used to, but there is no material for which the tradeoff of life versus cost for a given cutting efficiency is any better.

          These tired old stories belong with perpetual motion machines and water powered IC engines; they are just myths that can only be believed by people who don't know any of the science involved.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

            How to make your razor last longer.

            Push it backwards for a couple of strokes against you leg.

            It helps to keep the edge, I am managing to double the life of a Gillette 5 blade jobbie.

            1. amehaye
              Coat

              Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

              This actually has some basis - there are tiny folds on the blade which you straighten up by that, making the blade 'sharp' again.

            2. AbelSoul

              Re: "5 blade jobbie."

              Sounds like the lead from some nightmarish, faecal-themed horror flick.

              1. Crisp Silver badge

                Re: "5 blade jobbie."

                Try a single blade Bic. I find that the multi-blade razors tend to accumulate hair between the blades, reducing efficiency. Which probably explains why they work better when you rub it backwards down your leg.

                1. MJI Silver badge

                  Re: "5 blade jobbie."

                  Single blades leave me stubbly, a good rinse removes the hair and gel.

                  The leg rubbing straightens the edge.

            3. reluctant geek

              Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

              Indeed, I have been using the same Gillette disposable razor since the start of the year.

              The 'Razorpit' is quite amazing and actually works, last year I only used three razors!

              1. MJI Silver badge

                Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

                My bristles are getting harder to cut so now on blade two of the year.

            4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Alien

              Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

              "Push it backwards for a couple of strokes against you leg."

              No, no, no! You build a small pyramid to the same propotionsas the Great Pyramid with a small shelf 1/3rd up from the base right in the midlle and put your blade there overnight, every night. It will stay sharp for years. I read it on t'internet so it must be true.

              Where's the tinfoil hat icon?

            5. Jim 59
              Joke

              Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

              How to make your razor last longer. Push it backwards for a couple of strokes against you leg.

              Okay but there is no need to get STROPPY about it.

          2. Truth4u

            Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

            "they are just myths that can only be believed by people who don't know any of the science involved."

            Next you'll be telling me that there's a good reason they use capacitors filled with cats urine instead of properly designed ones that can run twice as hot for twice as long.

            1. LaeMing

              Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

              That is also why (pre-LED) traffic light lamps had such good running times compared to house lamps - under-powering them was worth the greater energy-consumption due to both maintenance costs and road-safety reasons.

              1. Truth4u

                Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

                and because energy is really cheap for everyone but domestic users who have to pay an inflated price to foreign energy companies for the sole benefit of their share holders (not the environment).

                I wonder if Google has to phone up EDF and beg not to be cut off during winter? And they use enough energy to heat every elderly persons home on earth.

              2. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

                Traffic lamps weren't just underrun. When "off" they were actually still passing current (enough to keep them hot, but not so hot they glowed.). This reduced thermal shock and prolonged their lifespan.

                At one point softstarters for incandescents were a popular project. The ones I built extended the life of the lamps by at least a factor of 5 but it's doubtful that even came close to paying for the components to do it.

            2. Fihart

              Re: Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades etc -- why monitors fail.

              @Truth4u

              The (urban) legend goes that two employees of a Japanese capacitor manufacturer stole the formula for the electrolyte their employer used. Trouble is they wrote it down wrong so the formula they sold to rivals resulted in a generation of monitors and tellies which failed prematurely due to bulging caps.

              I think more likely the rash of failures of models, all made in China, and 17 inchers upwards, was due to assemblers cheating their customers by substituting cheaper components which did not perform as specified. Notable that while, in my experience, the issue plagued brands as varied as Viewsonic and LG, defective Dell monitors I've come across have failed for other reasons.

            3. Killraven

              Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

              "Next you'll be telling me that there's a good reason they use capacitors filled with cats urine instead of properly designed ones that can run twice as hot for twice as long."

              Because the majority of consumers would rather pay $500 for a TV that lasts 3-5 years, instead of paying $750 for the same TV with better components lasting 8-10 years.

          3. DropBear Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

            I am afraid that anybody who actually knows any metallurgy knows that the first and last examples are rubbish, and though I'm no expert on polymers I believe the second one is as well.

            Well, there are folks who are reminded of Planck and the origins of quantum theory when the filament temperature of a severely undervolted incandescent lightbulb comes up, and there are other folks who are reminded of Lizard People and the History Channel instead. Right, what else is new...?

            1. Truth4u

              Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

              "when the filament temperature of a severely undervolted incandescent lightbulb comes up"

              less voltage = better for environment.

              I run all my bulbs severely undervolted on a 120 volt isolation transformer so I can get into heaven for using less volts therefore less carbon. QED.

              1. NumptyScrub
                Angel

                Re: <stuff about inbuilt obsolescence>

                quote: "less voltage = better for environment.

                I run all my bulbs severely undervolted on a 120 volt isolation transformer so I can get into heaven for using less volts therefore less carbon. QED."

                Whereas I just use the night-vision goggles I got with the overpriced version of Call of Battlefield: Modern Ghost-Ops LXIV, and thus I am destined for Sainthood </smug>

                1. P. Lee Silver badge

                  Re: <stuff about inbuilt obsolescence>

                  I just bumble around in the dark.

                  Rather like my office job.

              2. Naughtyhorse

                Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

                Are the people who say 'undervolted' the same sort of people who discuss amperage

                (which is, of course, what they mean)

                If it is, I do wish they would stop it.

                It's clumsy and oafish.

                Although it does make me stop and think;

                When a poster who is pro 'planned obsolescence' (which is _so_ clearly a major part of the post war manufacturing environment) gets so heinously trashed in a forum devoted to 'IT specialists'

                On a similar theme, has anyone noticed how all software now has a date on it? So it automatically gets old, even if there's nothing wrong with it.

                And on a completely different theme; there is, I am told, a version of autocad 2006 that has been running for 8 years, and it STILL WORKS!!!!!!11!!1!!

              3. IsJustabloke Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

                twat. that is all.

                1. boltar Silver badge

                  Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

                  "twat. that is all."

                  Did you think that riposte up all by yourself or did mummy help you?

          4. browntomatoes

            Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

            Sorry, but straight ("cut-throat") razors can and do last a lifetime when properly cared for (with the occasional honing etc), offering a massive TCO advantage. It's not metallurgy or cost (although you can argue about the benefits of carbon steel vs stainless steel) but convenience which is key. Cartridge razors are evidently highly valued by consumers for two reasons. Firstly, they are easier to use (and importantly have a much shallower learning curve). And secondly, they are quicker to shave with and take a lot less time/effort to take care of (no stropping, honing, etc).

          5. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

            " but there is no material for which the tradeoff of life versus cost for a given cutting efficiency is any better."

            The solution is "Don't cut, use an epilady"

            FWIW the aztecs used to use tweezers to deilate their faces, so there is precedent.

            Razors last much longer if you oil your skin first (it softens the hairs)

          6. boltar Silver badge

            Re: "Lightbulbs, nylon tights, razor blades, can all be made to last years or decades"

            "I am afraid that anybody who actually knows any metallurgy knows"

            Which apparently isn't you. My father had a very expensive razor that did last for years. And no, he didn't have a beard. Guess what - it is possible to sharpen cutting edges! Who knew?

            "Anybody can make a light bulb last a very long time; under-run it. The problem is that incandescent bulbs are horribly inefficient to start with, and when significantly under-run, the cost of electricity to produce a given light output becomes many times the cost of the savings in light bulbs"

            And of course what people like yourself forget is that "wasted" energy comes out as heat which warms up the house or office so the heating - in winter anyway - can be turned down.

            "Extremely hard materials like WC do not lend themselves to making very sharp blades suitable for razors"

            Riiiight, so I guess people in the past didn't actually use flint for cutting tools then?

            Oh , while you're at it I suggest you look up Titanium Nitride.

        2. rhydian

          "There is a lightbulb in america that's been burning for over 100 years"

          Ever seen a picture of it? It's not exactly a 100w spotlamp...

          1. Truth4u

            "Ever seen a picture of it? It's not exactly a 100w spotlamp..."

            But it wouldn't make your whole house look like a truck stop restroom like the CCFLs do.

            1. rhydian

              @ Truth4u

              "But it wouldn't make your whole house look like a truck stop restroom like the CCFLs do."

              I don't know where your buying your bulbs but my lamps don't do that. They're a mix of CCFL (for areas where lights will be on for extended periods so slow startup times aren't an issue) and LED (for areas where lights are on for a short/medium period so you need instant light)

              The other lamps are usually the "pretend traditional" type (halogen lights hidden inside normal bulbs) where you need instant light (stairs, broom cupboards) or the fitting won't take a CCFL/LED because it has a dimmer.

              I've not actually had to change a CCFL or LED due to failure as yet since I moved in two years ago. The ones that blow out are the 30w incandescent strip light or the pretend traditionals in my standard lamp (which go pop if they get a bash)

              1. Alan Edwards

                Re: @ Truth4u

                > I've not actually had to change a CCFL or LED due to failure as yet

                I've got an uplighter that I bought when I first moved into my own place in about 1992. It's in my front room, is on whenever it's dark, and has always had a CFL bulb. They seem to last around 6 years.

                Since I moved into my current place 2 years ago I've replaced 2 of the incandescent spot bulbs in the kitchen and bathroom. I was toying with replacing them with LEDs, but the fittings have 3 bulbs each and I found a box of spare bulbs in a cupboard when I moved in so it never happened.

                1. Truth4u

                  Re: @ Truth4u

                  CCFLs don't last a year in my place. Always the electronics that fail... maybe I get more spikes, and the voltage is a little on the high side of the normal range. Measured at over 240v on a DMM. The incandescent bulbs are even worse, lasting a month at most, sometimes I've had them fail the day after installation. All domestic lighting products are of extremely poor quality these days. Whatever type you get it was made in china a dozen to the penny and sold at over 1,000 % markup. It's just a fact.

                  1. rhydian

                    Re: @ Truth4u

                    I'd get your electrics tested properly. The one incandescent bulb I have to change "frequently" (i.e. once a year or so) is a strip light above an oil stove. Nothing else in the house needs changing more often than that.

                  2. SEDT

                    Re: @ Truth4u

                    Made in China does not necessarily = poor quality or 1000% markup. Loose the chip

                2. P0l0nium

                  Re: @ Truth4u

                  CFLs last for years of you point them UP!

                  They fail in months if you point them DOWN.

                  The heat generator is in the glass tube which bathes the circuitry in hot air so it dies

                  Its usually the wire-wrap joints that connect the tube to the circuit board that fails due to thermal expansion/contraction.

              2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

                @rhydian

                I've not actually had to change a CCFL or LED due to failure as yet

                While I agree in general with the points you make, I have to say you've been extremely lucky with your CCFLs. I've had them fail in a matter of months. I've even contemplated contacting the manufacturers about the optimistic guarantees printed on their packaging, but I'm too lazy.

                1. rhydian

                  @ Kubla Cant

                  I can't say I've had that happen even with cheapos from the supermarket/DIY barns. I'm probably just lucky or on a particularly "in spec" line.

              3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: @ Truth4u

                "halogen lights...because it has a dimmer."

                Carefull with that. Halogens don't always play well with "standard" dimmers desiged with incandescents in mind. Especially if the load from the lamps is near the rated max.of the dimmer. It can get expensive, as I found out to my cost.

                1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                  @ John Brown

                  Bzzt! Absolutely wrong, brimming over with wrongability.

                  Halogen lamps ARE incandescents.

                  The difference between those and "normal" GLS lamps is the gas fill, which uses the halogen cycle to deposit evaporated tungsten back onto the filament instead of staying on the glass.

                  - If you've ever been to the theatre, >90% of the lamps you see dimming so nicely are halogens. Bigger ones than you can get in Tesco, but still halogen.

                  1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                    Re: @ John Brown

                    That said, most domestic wall plate dimmers effectively lie about their rating. If it says 100W, it doesn't mean it'll actually run a 100W lamp continually.

                    They tend to be very low duty cycle.

                    1. rhydian

                      Re: @ John Brown / Richard 12

                      One dimmer is a triac based job fitted in a standard lamp with 2x regular bulbs in the top and a capsule halogen bulb in the reading lamp. The instructions do say that halogens are fine (and I've picked ones with a reasonable rating)

                      The other is a nifty "plug in" dimmer for a table lamp. Its an oversized 3-pin plug with a socket on the back of it, and a trailing lead to a foot slider operated dimmer.

        3. illiad

          only the paranoid use lightbulbs... the intelligent use FL bulbs or LED bulbs.. and you find that 90% just want a TV to watch programmes, not the fancy stuff...

          1. Truth4u

            "only the paranoid use lightbulbs... the intelligent use FL bulbs or LED bulbs.. "

            That's where you're wrong my friend. A small circuit, about the size of a 10 pence piece, can be included in any LED bulb to modulate the LED flicker rate with the output of a microphone. Aim a solar cell at a lit up window and hook it to your scope: guess what? You can hear everything going on in that room. Not science fiction but science fact: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hliHBeC1sco

            1. Alan Brown Silver badge

              "Aim a solar cell at a lit up window and hook it to your scope: guess what?"

              1: Works better with a reflected laser (that's what spooks use)

              2: Doesn't work so well on clean windows (they reflect less)

              3: Doesn't work very well at all on double glazing.

              1. Truth4u

                "3: Doesn't work very well at all on double glazing."

                Lasers don't work on double glazing but a bugged LED bulb will send the signal through the window to the outside, I thought it was pretty easy to understand, I must be smarter than most though because no one else seems to get it!

              2. SEDT

                "Aim a solar cell at a lit up window and hook it to your scope: guess what?"

                1: Works better with a reflected laser (that's what spooks use)

                2: Doesn't work so well on clean windows (they reflect less)

                3: Doesn't work very well at all on double glazing.

                Crikey! Hope youre not a neighbour

          2. DiViDeD Silver badge

            re:90% just want a tv to watch programmes

            Agreed, but these days who doesn't have at least one 'set top box' (have you ever SEEN an STB on top of a tv? And how would you even start getting one to balance on top of a plasma set?) to look after the actual content delivery. Many of my friends don't even have an aerial anymore. It doesn't take much topersuade people that all they need is a decent quality flat panel and a cable to their stereo (trust me, I even persuaded my 76 year old neighbour and he's happy as larry about it.

            No the TV as a discrete unit is in it's death throes. Expect legislation designed to protect those TV manufacturers who can't see the writing on the wall any day now. Maybe something along the lines of 'You know what sort of people don't own a onsole TV? Terrywrists! You wouldn't want your neighbours to think you're one of those, would you?'

        4. John Tserkezis

          "Do you not understand that the old stuff was designed to wear out?"

          Not really, it's a case of market economics not suited to products that last forever, because no-on is willing to pay that much for it.

          "There is a lightbulb in america that's been burning for over 100 years."

          What they don't tell you, is it's entirely useless and of ornamental value only. It burns orange. To hell with colour temperature, this bulb is just plain orange. And it's dim. It's great by oil or gas lantern standards of 100 fucking years ago, but hey, since then, we've moved on.

          "Then the Phoebus cartel was set up to limit bulb life to 1000 hours"

          Not quite. When it comes to standard incandescent bulb technology, that life span was determined as a compromise between brightness, colour temperature and lifespan. If you bring the energy down, you can make modern incandescents last 100 years too. But no-one would buy them because they would be dim and orange and fucking useless by 2014 standards. If you don't like that, try induction lighting, with claims of 100,000 hours lifespan, and lighting similar to fluorescent lamps. Not so crappy now?

          "fail from poor quality capacitors in the power supply"

          I once replaced all the caps in a new derated PC power supply with high quality high temperature caps that would normally never get used in that position - to the tune of at least a couple of hundred dollars. It was hammered solidly for 10 years before I threw it out. The box that replaced it had the power supply replaced once in 10 years - for $30 bucks. Now you know how the market economy works.

          "Manufacturers know this and their contribution is to make the cases hard to open"

          No, you're thinking of Apple. Although, somewhat to their defence, it does make it cheaper and easier to manufacture - always a plus in that game, even if it does piss the costomer off.

      2. xperroni
        Joke

        Smart TV's still await a really good implementation, and the opportunity to sell sets on their smart capabilities has probably been supplanted, because whilst the makers messed around the market moved on, so that for casual browsing and emailing the solution is tablets.

        A friend of mine once approached the lady on a kiosk showcasing a "smart" TV, and asked her in what sense the TV was "smart".

        She didn't know.

        I guess TV makers don't, either.

        1. veti Silver badge

          "Smart" TVs

          Smart TVs have an excellent implementation: it's called the iPad.

          I really don't understand why people have so much trouble seeing this. Apple shipped something over 30 million new iPads last year, and most of those represent a TV that didn't get sold. Tablets are the new TV.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Smart" TVs

            Tablets are the new TV.

            Are they really.

            How's that 42" iPad of yours?

      3. Psyx

        "But it was always thus. Nobody in the real world (ie excluding millionaires) consumes for itself, they consume because newer products offer more than the existing equipment, or because the old stuff has worn out."

        Unfortunately, that's the not the model that manufacturers want to use any more.

        Spurred on by the frankly insane cycles on smartphones, the rest of the consumer marketplace now wants the same model and would like us to buy a new tele every two years thankyouverymuch.

        The idea that people should only buy new TVs, cameras et cetera when the old kit stops working has been pushed aside. New functionality is still a selling point, but the manufacturers now have a trickle-through of 'exciting new' functions which...aren't. And they aren't worth buying new for.

        The issue is that retailers want to keep selling us shit faster than we want to buy it, and they think that putting a new gizmo on it every year will help.

        It might work the first time or two, but after two upgrade cycles we can see what's coming and start thinking that £X per year for a new Y when the old one still works just fine is ripping the fucking piss a bit.

        1. Kiwi
          Big Brother

          @ Psyx

          New functionality is still a selling point, but the manufacturers now have a trickle-through of 'exciting new' functions which...aren't.

          We've had so much over the years, and much of it never had content. How much truly HD content is there out there today? (and why is it that my old CRT TV could disply a higher resolution from the computer than my new and very expensive (thank God for the extended warranty that brought it for me!) "HD" TV?) Screen resolutions seemed to do a huge drop not long before "HD" came out.

          Couple of years back "3D" was the big thing.. And the content for it would come, just buy the TV's...

          Now, well I am wondering if 4k is already dead and buried, certainly haven't seen anyone advertising it here for many months.

          So.. Should I buy new&shiny every year or so like some of my friends do, in the hopes that the promised content will finally show up [briefly looks away to watch airborne pigs], or should I wait until there is some content that is soooo good that I just can't bear watching it on some less-than-new TV?

          Given the quality of so much TV today, you really do have to push the envelope with the content for me to buy new. I don't care what the picture quality is like, if a show isn't worth watching for the overall content, I'm not wasting my money.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "But it was always thus. Nobody in the real world (ie excluding millionaires) consumes for itself, they consume because newer products offer more than the existing equipment, or because the old stuff has worn out. "

        You are ignoring the forced consumption for the sake of it. The government is constantly worrying about deflation and have many policies designed to avoid it because deflation means lack of consumption. GDP is a simple-minded measure of consumption and when did you last hear any economist celebrating a fall in that?

        What these all those policies come down to is forcing consumption and waste. On the other side of the fence are the manufacturers who also fear deflation and need us to buy new shit when we shouldn't have to. Partly this is done with fashion and other psychological tricks but a lot of it is done by planned obsolescence.

        You might think you don't consume for the sake of it, but the post-War economy is founded on the fact that in fact you do and in fact are not given the option to do anything else.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "You might think you don't consume for the sake of it, but the post-War economy is founded on the fact that you do and in fact are not given the option to do anything else."

          Really? I must be flirting with disaster, then, because I drive an 8-year-old car that I bought used, haven't bought a TV in... well, ever... work supplies my cell phones, which I use until they drop. My home theater consists of a 20 year old CRT projector and audio gear scavenged from all over hell's half acre. I heat my house with a pellet stove. My oven was made in 1935.

          Obviously the authorities haven't heard about me, because according to your post, I have not been given the option to do what I do.

          And I know people who make me look like Donald Trump.

          So really, I'm not sure what you're getting at. There's nothing forcing anyone to behave in any particular way. I haven't had to sacrifice having cool stuff. Perhaps your paranoia is miscalibrated.

      5. Tom 13

        Re: speed of useful end product innovation and improvement

        Not quite. I think the speed of innovation is about the same as it ever was. Granted in the early stages of innovation you are making more perceptible gains per unit of innovation, so that part is correct. But it overlooks two one time events in their respective industries.

        First was the Y2K scare for computers. By and large in the PC market this meant everybody had to replace their PC in 1999 even if they'd originally planned to keep it another 3 years. Second was the conversion from NTSC/PAL to HD across the world markets. Both of these events created a surge in purchasing and it was a mistake to assume it was "normal growth" or ought to constitute a new baseline from which to project growth.

        To some extent, what is happening now is an artificial depression because that equipment which would have otherwise aged out naturally was replaced prematurely so there's no need to replace it again so soon. My parents tended to buy a new color tv about once every 10 to 15 years. I think most people expect their LCDs will last about as long. Heck, the only reason I wound up with a second LCD tv is I adopted too early on the LCD wave and my "HD ready" set turned out to be not so "HD ready" because it didn't have HDMI inputs (they hadn't been invented yet).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could it be what is on offer in the shops/online?

    Wanna buy a 48in+ TV with built-in FreeSat Tuner that is NOT 3D?

    Keep looking hard and you might find one.

    A year or so ago it wasn't that hard but now everything seems to be the dead horse that is 3D?

    1. Thomas 6

      Re: Could it be what is on offer in the shops/online?

      Try finding a 48in+ TV that isn't HD. Plenty of people have HD TVs but only use SD.

      3D is just something that comes as standard on TVs now whether you want it or not. It isn't something that really adds to the cost.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Could it be what is on offer in the shops/online?

        " It isn't something that really adds to the cost."

        No costs - what of patents, etc, that have to be licensed?

        What kind of 3D?

        If its polarising type you loose some brightness, if active shutter you have to add the hardware to support the headsets (and probably get one with the TV, which is just great for a typical family).

        1. Thomas 6

          Re: Could it be what is on offer in the shops/online?

          The cost quote was in the context of the entire comment.

          In the early days of HDTV (or 3D / smart TV), the customer paid extra for this feature. Now it is on all TVs, there is no extra charge. It is just part of the cost of the TV.

  3. Esskay
    Thumb Down

    They're living in the 90's

    When TV was the only way to consume media, and when a shiny new TV came out everyone needed (wanted) it.

    We've transitioned from kids wanting a TV in their rooms to kids being happy with a laptop/tablet/smartphone, not to mention the 24/7 avaliability of streaming content from the internet, and TV's reluctance to accept this fact. Even smart TVs make a clumsy effort to acknowledge the superiority of the internet when it comes to consuming media.

    1. Jim 59

      Re: They're living in the 90's

      Streaming may be the future but in 2014 there is no comparison between the experience of streaming on a mobile device and watching a big modern TV. With TV I have instant switch on, EPG guide, surf through 10 channels in a few seconds, stop/rewind (PVR), store it all for later, browse hundreds of recorded programs (PVR) record 2 (yes 2!) channels while watching a third, play Blu ray/DVD and through the hifi/surround.. And of course a modern TV can also stream.

      1. Esskay

        Re: They're living in the 90's

        True, a PVR has added life to the TV, but the functionality usually comes from spending a couple of hundred on an extra box - not from splashing out a few grand on a new TV. Not to mention that you still have to wait for a show to air at it's programmed time before the PVR can grab it.

        And a PVR might record 2 programs simultaneously, but my BitTorrent client can "record" a lot more ;)

  4. pacman7de

    TV sales are falling everywhere ..

    "TV sales are falling everywhere. It’s kind of official, but people are still prepared to argue about it. The number of LCD screens are being forecast to recover but no one is giving a reason why"

    Because no one under thirty is watching television .. or listening to the electric wireless ...

    1. Naughtyhorse
      Happy

      Re: TV sales are falling everywhere ..

      Yeah! dude, it's all gramophone records these days :-)

  5. EddieD

    I don't want a tv

    I want a screen. I don't want an intelligent, 3D, web connected behemoth that will be out of date in 6 months so I have to buy another one, I want a screen I can connect to my devices that will play the material of my choice from the device of my choice.

    I already have NetFlix, I already have LoveFilm, if I wanted them I could have Facebook, Twitter, I have a PVR (okay, I have a computer), I have everything I need.

    Just give me a large, high quality, terminally dumb screen with plenty of connectors.

    Okay, it can have WiFi. So I don't have to have cables. But that's all.

    1. James 100

      Re: I don't want a tv

      That sounds rather like what we know as "monitors", except that you probably don't want quite that high a resolution - 1080p would probably be fine for most, plus a few DVI/HDMI inputs (and sound, unless you have a separate system, which monitors tend to lack).

      I replaced my 720p non-LED-lit LCD with a 1080p LED-lit LCD in late 2012 - putting the old 720p upstairs in the guest room, since it still worked fine apart from a couple of "stuck" pixels.

      Why might I upgrade, assuming it doesn't break down in some way? A bigger screen maybe, or higher resolution. WiFi? Forget it: the screen needs power and at least one DVI/HDMI cable going in anyway, why would adding an Ethernet lead be a problem? I much prefer the simplicity and robustness of plugging it straight into the switch behind the TV (the same one the STB, wireless access point, games console and other Net-enabled devices already plug into) rather than relying on wireless and having to update passwords (you DO change your wifi password regularly, right ... then have to feed the new one into every wireless device using it?)

    2. RobHib
      Coat

      @EddieD -- Re: I don't want a tv - And I don't want one either!

      The only flat panel displays around here are on dedicated computer equipment!

      There's so little interest in TV here that the main set is so ancient that it's a CRT which only has an RF socket input! Right, it's so primitive there's no RCA video and audio etc.

      Recently, when the analog service got switched off, I put a PVR on it, but as there was no direct video input, I had to also dig up an old RF modulator.

      You may well ask why no TV. Simple really, with the crap infantile programs on offer, incessant ads and station promos etc., etc. why would one bother?

      The TVs are kept because we've always had them--sentimental reasons you might say. Nowadays, their only use is for truly noteworthy news--we did switch the telly on to check about the Malaysian MH370.

      Before that, it's hard to think of another specific time until we get back to the 911 crisis.

      Yawn.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: @EddieD -- I don't want a tv - And I don't want one either!

        "You may well ask why no TV. Simple really, with the crap infantile programs on offer, incessant ads and station promos etc., etc. why would one bother?"

        Right. Because watching a bunch of immature eejits on youtube trying to neknominate is so much more intellectually stimulating than say watching a series about the Plantagents or a crime thriller.

        I hate to break the news to you but 99% of the most infantile cr@p on this planet is found online , not on TV.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Truth4u

      Re: I don't want a tv

      4k screen + network attached tuner. Lovely.

      Just waiting for them to come down in price, then hopefully I can get a good one that will last decades.

      As for TV, even formerly decent shows are dumbing down. I think the competent members of the production teams are retiring and being replaced with first year media studies students from the current generation of McUniversity courses. Can't think of another explanation for the sudden and obvious drop in quality. At least on the BBC where most people surely must be reaching retirement age by now.

      I think they're going to replace the old crew members on £200k/pa with kids on £15k and spend the change on something utterly vacuous like F1 coverage no doubt. Not that I approve of the money being wasting in either fashion.

      1. Truth4u

        Re: I don't want a tv

        Newsnight is a good example, used to be a serious news show, now relentlessly amateurish in every measurable way.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Seriously how often *do* people replace their TV's?

    I'd bet it's a lot less often than their PC/tablet/iThingy/phone.

    But before people say the TV is dead consider the idea of a consumer

    No mandatory configuration process.

    It just works

    I miss the day days of push button tuners when you you pressed the present and instant channel change. Maybe it's just a cheap implementation but 20sec just to flip between 2 channels (which you've been flipping between) is p**s poor and I'm damm certain it's the software bodge architecture that's the issue.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seriously how often *do* people replace their TV's?

      Hear hear, you'd think that this was because somehow the first LCD telly's were a bit slow, but no, they're still doing it. Flipping through channels means you spend more time in 'limbo' than you do watching a channel.

      Oh, and people don't watch telly anymore because most of it is shit, innit?

      1. Mike Smith

        Just most of it?

        Telly's Law: Hardware functionality is directly proportional to the number of available channels and inversely proportional to programme quality.

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Just most of it?

          Telly's Law: Hardware functionality is directly proportional to the number of available channels and inversely proportional to programme quality.

          Well, we also know programme quality is apparently independent from number of available channels - remember "got thirteen channels of shit on the T.V. to choose from"...?

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Just most of it?

            I tend to watch about 3/4 BBC, found a new channel recently, a High Def version of BBC4.

            I basically fill the timer with interesting programmes, eg Top Gear, Horizon, Sky at Night, 1970s rock music, any documentries about old transport.

            Saw some crap on Challenge on FV last night, supposedly about the game Baftas, saw 3 awards and lots of knobends talking (not the game producers).

            Completely wasted opportunity.

      2. Sander van der Wal

        Re: Seriously how often *do* people replace their TV's?

        Yep.

      3. xperroni

        Re: Seriously how often *do* people replace their TV's?

        Oh, and people don't watch telly anymore because most of it is shit, innit?

        Aye, and it has been thus for the longest time.

        It was about twenty years ago that I stopped watching TV regularly. I was just 13 at the time, and already too fed up with all the shit being broadcast to keep up with it. My patch didn't have Internet back then, so I'd read comics and listen to the radio, which hadn't yet degenerated into a never-ending stream of advertisements and rants by constipated DJ's.

        I wonder what role TV programme standards actually had in the current sales slump, however. Would more people buy TV's today if content was better? Most of the good shows can be watched over the Internet today, so it could well have turned out just the same.

      4. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Seriously how often *do* people replace their TV's?

        "you'd think that this was because somehow the first LCD telly's were a bit slow, but no, they're still doing it."

        We got a so-called smart TV in January (actually not that smart, and just duplicates the features of the boxes plugged into it, but it was cheap). I'm sure the time it takes to boot up, show the splash screen, decide which input the signal should be coming from, and finally show the picture isn't any better than the time it took my late gran's 405-line valve and bakolite tv to warm up. At least the LCD TV doesn't squeal as it starts up!

    2. Chris Miller

      Re: Seriously how often *do* people replace their TV's?

      If 20s is a real figure, rather than an exaggeration for effect, I'd say there's something wrong with your setup (or maybe it's a sign that your signal is weak). I do notice that it takes longer to switch between Freeview HD channels (albeit only a second or so) than standard Freeview, and I'd always (in my ignorance) put that down to having to wait for a full frame to be broadcast (most of the signal is a 'delta' with the previous frame - I hear the same effect when switching DAB stations on radio). I'll bet there are experts on here who can correct my naive interpretation.

      To return to the fundamental question of a drop in TV sales, once again there are no drivers for people to replace sets that are working perfectly well. Maybe 4K will provide an incentive for new sales, but I'd bet that unless you've got a 100" set (and a mansion big enough to house it) you won't be able to see the difference with 'standard' HD.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        @Chris Miller

        "If 20s is a real figure, rather than an exaggeration for effect, I'd say there's something wrong with your setup (or maybe it's a sign that your signal is weak). I do notice that it takes longer to switch between Freeview HD channels (albeit only a second or so) than standard Freeview, "

        Actually rechecking things it's 20 secs from switch on. Having read up on "1 sec boot Linux" implementations (I'm pretty sure that's what at its core) that's unimpressive. It's actually about 3 secs between channel changes but it's still 3 secs when I hit the " back" button on the remote IE it should be just swapping the output from the 2 decoders. Likewise with the picture in picture function.

        My guess is this was programmed by some linear thinking newby and it never occurred to them it's just a case of flipping between existing outputs rather than searching for a "new" channel.

        1. Calum Morrison

          Re: @Chris Miller

          There was an article here on el Reg a few months ago that explained why it takes so long to switch between digital channels. There were sound technical reasons IIRC; certainly not just some software that could be tuned up a bit; if that was the case, that would be a differentiator for a manufacturer to sell on...

          1. Def Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: @Chris Miller

            ...explained why it takes so long to switch between digital channels. There were sound technical reasons IIRC...

            I doubt that. I don't bother with digital TV, I just have analogue via my cable provider and my PC & Xbox connected up. Switching between any of them takes about two seconds. However, when I'm configuring the channel names or configuring the channel order or whatever, switching is instantaneous.

            It's shit software written by muppets. Either that or the broadcasters have requested that TV manufacturers make it longer to change to try and dissuade people from channel surfing when the ads come on.

        2. Vic

          Re: @Chris Miller

          My guess is this was programmed by some linear thinking newby and it never occurred to them it's just a case of flipping between existing outputs rather than searching for a "new" channel.

          No, it doesn't work like that.

          Even if you were using ping-pong tuners for your alternates - and you almost certainly aren't - you still need to lock your decoder clock to the clock reference, find the assorted tables necessary to interpret the ES streams, then wait for a GOP start before you can actually decode anything. And if there is any issue with A/V sync, you might have to delay further.

          This, I'm afraid, is the result of both the temporal compression scheme we use for Digital TV and the carousel nature of the tables. A channel *can* improve the rate at which a decoder can lock to it by increasing the rate of PCR and table injection into the stream - but this costs bandwidth (possibly significantly) and offers very little benefit to the channel.

          Vic.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            @Vic

            "Even if you were using ping-pong tuners for your alternates - and you almost certainly aren't - you still need to lock your decoder clock to the clock reference, find the assorted tables necessary to interpret the ES streams, then wait for a GOP start before you can actually decode anything. And if there is any issue with A/V sync, you might have to delay further."

            That all sounds very convincing.

            Except my STB is also a recorder which allows watch-while-record.

            Are you saying the system is "time sharing" the receiver hardware virtually on a frame by frame basis to allow this?

            Because (apart from incompetent implementation) the only other reason I can think of is that the system powers down the 2nd channel in a rather misguided attempt to save power.

            The "common sense" way to implement this function is too effectively switch the outputs of 2 live decoders between a single channel to the monitor, not to have a "primary" and "secondary" decoder and switch the channel inputs between them.

            With both decoders running continuously I'd expect channel switching to be possible on the next frame output, whatever frame rate that is.

            Obviously I'd expect switching to a totally new channel to take longer, but the speed of the switching for existing channels is rubbish.

            1. Vic

              Re: @Vic

              Are you saying the system is "time sharing" the receiver hardware virtually on a frame by frame basis to allow this?

              Nope. I'm saying it has multiple tuners and demultiplexers, but probably only one decoder (unless it supports PiP). The decoder genreates the images on your screen; the on-disk storage will still be encoded (for reasons that are obvious, I hope).

              Nevertheless, none of that changes what I posted earlier - you still have a time delay between attempting to select a channel and getting that channel's data available on the demux output. You then have a further delay getting that data decoded into images and sound.

              Because (apart from incompetent implementation) the only other reason I can think of is that the system powers down the 2nd channel in a rather misguided attempt to save power.

              That's because you are thinking of the decoder as a single, monolithic lump. It isn't - you have a tuner, a demultiplexer, and a decoder. Many STBs have multiple tuners and demuxers, but I haven't seen many[1] with multiple decoders

              The "common sense" way to implement this function is too effectively switch the outputs of 2 live decoders between a single channel to the monitor, not to have a "primary" and "secondary" decoder and switch the channel inputs between them.

              You could build one - but you'd price yourself out of the market. And you still wouldn't get over the inevitable delay in locking the channel - it just does take that time.

              Obviously I'd expect switching to a totally new channel to take longer

              Exactly.

              but the speed of the switching for existing channels is rubbish.

              It isn't. Switching to a channel for which you already have demultiplexed data is quicker, but there is still a decoder lock-up time. But that wait time will be less than the time to lock a tuner/demux as well as the decoder.

              Vic.

              [1] There were some interesting designs to do HD when we were introducing the STi9000 - certain manufacturers were gluing 6 STi3520s to a board and getting them to work together. But that's not something that's likely to make it to market...

              1. Vic

                Re: @Vic

                > STi9000

                STi7000. What is wrong with my brain today?

                Vic.

    3. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Seriously how often *do* people replace their TV's?

      My DVB-T tunered TV takes a second, just until it gets an I frame. Mind you so was the previous one.

      Oh it works, it is 1920x1080, it is big enough, it has 3 HDMI, it won awards for picture so why would I change it?

      I am over 50 and still on TV number 4, I bought my first one at 20.

      TV1 was a portable

      TV2 was big TV and had SCART

      TV3 was 16x9 flat CRT and had DVB-T

      TV4 is 16x9 LCD, and HD

      Yes 4 TVs in over 30 years, I always bought the best I could afford and changed when old one worn and new technology arrived.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Seriously how often *do* people replace their TV's?

        Other devices.

        Nothing wrong with using a 1984 VCR is there? SInce the only better VCR was 1987 (and mine is faulty, need a scrap one for parts) no reason to change, My old 1982 portable VCR still works, but the camera died in 2000. Currently now a user of HDV.

        1984 VCR is very rarely used though as I have 2 PVRs, but a big pile of old tapes.

        Outlasted a DTTV PVR killed off due to Pace being crap.

        Still on DVD player number 2, number 1 worn out. Had to replace the BD player due to a flashing yellow light but managed to ressurect long enough to transfer data.

        I have seen people replace kit regularly because they bought something sub standard, or something unsuitable, or because they just have to have the newest thing.

        But the mod 1990s quality drop hit a lot of people who thought they were trading up their late 1980s kit for something newer.

        But basically you need to take care when buying stuff as there is so much cheap junk out there it is silly.

        1. Random Coolzip

          Re: Seriously how often *do* people replace their TV's?

          "But basically you need to take care when buying stuff as there is so much cheap junk out there it is silly."

          +1. Still using my first DVD player, which I got in 2001. I don't mind paying top dollar for high-end components, as they tend to last and work well. Still using my Carver amp and B&O turntable I bought in college too. I also like to listen to my Hallicrafters SX-101, but I didn't buy that new...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Suprises here.

    I'm over 40; I don't bother with regular TV. if it isn't on Netflix or You Tube it isn't watched. As for TV's, yes, I'd love to buy a big screen TV (48in ++). without Smart/ 3D features or memory card slots.

    Give me loads of connectors especially HDMI (4+), audio, if you must 1 scart, and 1 aerial in.

    I think TV manufactures don't get it; then again, I suppose I'm not a regular customer.

    1. MrT

      I got to...

      ..."There is lots of intelligence out there in TV land" and chuckled - better comedy than a lot of the cheap channels...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    it is fairly obvious

    changes to broadcast format to digital, chages of technology to flat panel, its all over now.

    Before people had operational TV's that they had kept for over 30 years in some cases.

    The market will slow and flatten as the technologies have matured into their new state.

    Lets await the next new big thing (clearly not 3D) that people want.

    After all how many 90 inch home cinema setups can you have!

    1. Darryl

      Re: it is fairly obvious

      Yes, I think that the TV manufacturers have forgotten that people used to buy a TV and use it for 20 or 30 years until it got flaky or died. I think the younger management at these companies assume that people will rush out every year to get the latest model because it's 3D or Smart or 4K just to get the latest and greatest like people do with personal electronics, when that's just not the case with big ticket items like TVs

  9. Rathernicelydone

    I don't watch a lot of TV but do watch a lot of TV programmes that I have downloaded on my tablet. My 40" 1080i screen from 5 years back seems perfectly adequate for TV broadcasts (most of which seem to be in 720p anyway) and also for Blu-Ray. The TV in our room is now for communal/social watching of films, sports events etc. It has become a special occasion device for me rather than an everyday device.

    As with other people on here I doubt I will replace my TV any time soon. I haven't seen 4k in action and may consider upgrading in a couple of year's time but the difference would have to be substantial. I would rather spend the money on a nice speaker set-up instead (TV speakers seem to be absolute garbage).

    I have noticed that hardware seems to have outstripped software substantially. My PC is around 3 years old (an overclocked i7) and the only things I have changed is adding an SSD and a new graphics card (along with new power supply to support it). I can now play any modern game and the load times for Windows 7 and programs are astonishingly quick. I cannot see me upgrading the PC (e.g. new board/chip etc) for at least another 3 years.

    Likewise my HTC One that I bought over a year ago I wont change for another year at least as every app and Android itself runs perfectly.

    I once thought the hardware refresh cycle would mean significant spend continuously to keep my gadgets bang up to date but I'm sure my wallet is grateful for not having to do that!

    1. LaeMing
      Happy

      Yes. I used to run my home PC on a 2-3 year upgrade cycle but the last CPU+board upgrade is now over 4 years ago and getting more distant with no sign of flagging. I need a new bottom-end-of-the-top-tier graphics card sometime soon, and since my 27" 1920x1200 (nice large dot-pitch for that sitting-back-from-the-screen experience) LCD is starting to exhibit warm-up glitches after 5+ years that will likely soon be upgraded to 2560x1600. So I appear to be on at least a 5-year+ upgrade cycle.

  10. Ali on the Reg

    No single reason

    TV sales are falling because most people already have a big HD TV at home already, sometimes more than one. Why upgrade? 3D has died a death. 4k looks good - up close that is! Sit at any normal distance and the difference between 4k and 1080p is barely distinguishable for the vast majority of scenes. This won't stop most people buying it of course but currently prices are high and there does not exist the content or the means to deliver it. OLED has potential but is still way too expensive to manufacture even after 20+ years of development, and TV manufacturers have decided that 4k is more marketable. Mostly however I'd say that computing and the Internet has changed the developed world. Our family for example mostly consume media using computers/tablets - the TV is used very little. And when I say 'media' I don't mean just TV content. Even my 6 year old streams pre-recorded content from a DLNA server to her iPad. If we occasionally want to watch a family-friendly movie we fire up the home cinema projector - these can be purchased for around the same cost or less than a TV these days. And because people can watch what they want, when they want there is no need to congregate around the idiot box at pre-determined times (unless you are a member of the football religion).

    1. D@v3

      Re: +1 for projectors

      I picked up a fairly decent projector a little while back, at a very reasonable price, to take on a holiday that I went on with my friends. I knew there was no TV where we were going, and it gave us something to do (big screen movie based drinking games) when the weather wasn't so great. Having got back home, I decided that it was worth the trouble of re-arranging my living room to remove the unsightly black obelisk that just seems to draw the eyes towards it, (even when it's not in use).

      So now, when I'm not using it, I have no 'tv' and when i am using it, i have a christ knows how big screen (really can't be bothered to measure it), at perfectly adequate quality for TV / movies / gaming. Likely hood that i will update / upgrade in the near future, pretty slim. Might need to buy a new bulb at some point, but that's about it.

      1. Ali on the Reg

        Re: +1 for projectors

        You are something of a pioneer by not having a TV at all. I did wonder why I bother having one and realise that it is really for the benefit of guests.

  11. jason 7

    At the end of the day...

    ...people have just got bigger things to worry about.

  12. Dave Harris 1

    Buying less because what they've got lasts longer?

    It crosses my mind that, at least as far as TVs are concerned, despite the possibility that manufacturers do their best to ensure otherwise, modern TVs simply last longer and stay working pretty much perfectly their full life. Modern LCD sets consume a fraction of the power of even a plasma set (remember those?), let alone a CRT, and that means they run much cooler. The effect on equipment lifetime is surprisingly large. My finger-in-the-air guess is that a good quality LED LCD TV will last 3 x what a CRT TV would last - and some of those lasted 10+ years.

    Even non-LED LCD screens failed mostly when the backlight(s) and/or their inverter went AFAIK and they're almost impossible to replace economically. But then, they ran hot, so no surprise there.

    In other words, the TV makers have engineered themselves out of a job. Perhaps more accurately, they've been technology-ed out of a job.

    1. LaeMing
      Happy

      Re: Buying less because what they've got lasts longer?

      Power supply capacitors are usually what goes in a modern LCD. I have dozens of screens from XGA to FullHD at work salvaged from eWaste piles and roadsides and fixed for a few dollars (I prefer the visual arts students be creative with kit the school hasn't actually paid lots of money for!). I will still buy a new monitor for my primary, but if you have hobbiest-level electronics capability or better, LCD monitors with a good few more years in them can often be fixed by swapping out any bloated capacitors. I presently have a 3:4 success rate on this. Plus one light box made from a backlight with a genuinely dead LCD removed from it.

      1. browntomatoes

        Re: Buying less because what they've got lasts longer?

        Very true. I feel obliged to point out though that you MUST discharge the large capacitors in any switchmode power supply (with an appropriate resistor/other load) and not just disconnect from the line before you do anything else though. A broken power supply (or even a working one without working bleeder resistors) can often mean potentially lethal levels of charge persisting in them for long periods. This is especially true for CRTs but really for anything with a SMPS.

    2. rhydian

      Re: Buying less because what they've got lasts longer?

      I don't think that LCD TVs do last longer than their CRT counterparts. An old 80s/90s quality CRT is pretty much indestructible. OK the picture quality may fade but the TV itself would go on until the end of time.

      1. Alan Edwards

        Re: Buying less because what they've got lasts longer?

        > OK the picture quality may fade but the TV itself would go on until the end of time.

        It had to, once it's in place it's too damn heavy to move!

        I could just about shift a 28-inch CRT widescreen myself, the 32-inch that replaced it was too much.

        The 37-inch and 40-inch LCDs that have come after the 32-inch CRT I can easily move.

        Oh, and neither widescreen CRT was as good as the 29-inch CRT Sony Trinitron 4:3 I had before, and the 32-inch was a flat-front CRT Sony. It had all sorts of picture-worsening digital processing that couldn't be disabled.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Buying less because what they've got lasts longer?

          CRT TV

          My 32" was a 50Hz Wega IDTV with no additional processing and a direct link to one of the best DVB-T tuners.

          Alan's poor PQ - sounds like 100Hz TV, some of those were not great, only good one cost £3000, and one analogue tuner one was particularly poor.

          My old IDTV PQ made Ondigital and Sky boxes look sad.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. rhydian

    Now that the freeview switchover's done...

    Most people don't need a new TV. They went out and bought a Tesco special offer unit when their old CRT stopped working and are happy with it.

    Also, most of the streaming TV services are supplying their own separate receiver units (AppleTV/NowTV etc) to work with your current set so there's no real driver to keep upgrading the actual set.

    Personally I bought a second hand technika TV from work, but have teamed it up with a Sony BD Home cinema setup and a Humax Freesat HD unit. The TV itself is dumber than a post, but all it does is show a picture, the sound and smarts are taken care of by the sony unit.

  15. Darren Bell

    Hope my current TV lasts

    Just hoping my current KRP500A lasts a little while. No speakers, 3D or smart stuff, just the best TV money can buy. Plasma too. In a few years you will not be able to buy a plasma TV although they are better :(

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    alternative means to save TV market

    is to decrease the lifespan of a telly, aka planned obsolescence to about 2 year span, not to interfere with some peskier EU regulations. This way - we will not bother with replacing the telly when it kicks the bucket, and the whole idea of tv as we know it will fall apart like, ehm... house of cards.

  17. Simon Barker

    What did the last 5 odd years of TV development really get us? They didn't improve picture quality especially, bezel sizes shrunk nicely but at the cost of things like sound quality and the less said about 3D the better.

    From the OLED TVs and 4K screens I've seen we're finally getting some solid picture quality improvements but I don't think the average punter is going to care and certainly not when those sets cost four figures.

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      "What did the last 5 odd years of TV development really get us?"

      Stupid locations for some connections that we'd like to have in a more accessible place, all in the name of making the front of the TV look as untainted with, ugh, things as possible?

      I'm thinking specifically of the headphone socket, because it's something I do use. On my current TV it is really awkward to get at, and seems to just as stupidly positioned on those I've looked at when considering replacements.

      My preference? On the front, where I can see it, or failing that on the side so I don't have to reach around behind or under and behind (as I have to currently) to try to plug headphones into a socket that I can't bloody well see, and so struggle to find.

      1. ※

        Might I suggest the use of an audio extension lead for your headphone jack?

        1. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Yabbut, an audio extension cord would still need to be plugged into theheadphone socket, cutting off output to the TV speakers. Or are you saying he should always listen on phones and everyone else should learn ti lipread?

          The point of a headphone socket is to give the owner the option of listening on headphones OR speakers, so putting a headphone socket somewhere inaccessible is what we in the engineering trade call 'bloody stupid', however sodding sleek the bezel looks.

          You don't get hi fi buffs complaining that their Denon amps look 'so untidy' with a headphone socket on the front panel and asking for it to be moved round the back next to the speaker outlets.

          And while I'm foaming at the mouth here, remember whensockets for portable kit (stuff which was only periodically run through the TV, like cameras) were on the front of the set where they could be easily plugged and removed?

  18. TJ1

    Set Top Boxes

    Most of the 'smart' is in various so-called "set-top boxes" which should properly be called "carpet-top boxes" in many cases.

    If a TV maker produced a TV with generic mains-powered vertical slots behind the top edge of the unit so that STBs could be slid in so they're concealed, provided with AC power and individual remote on/off contorl, short connection leads to per-STB ports, gigabit Ethernet switch, integrated IR transceivers to clip over the STB IR LEDs, we'd again have a single TV and single universal programmable learning remote. Add WiFi and HTTP server hosting an HTML5 remote-control web-app and any flavour of smart-phone or tablet could also control it.

    That's what I call a 'smart' TV that'd I'd buy.

    1. rhydian

      Re: Set Top Boxes

      Nope, too sensible I'm afraid.

      What you'd get is each of the major TV makers coming up with their own totally incompatible system which they change every other year, meaning you have to buy the TV/BD/DVR/STB as a kit.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: Set Top Boxes

        They can't even do proper universal remotes (something that you don't need a computer to program, or a 40 page manual).

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Set Top Boxes

      Sony tried with Profeel (I think) it was a flop

  19. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Microwave

    Have you ever noticed how many 10+ year old microwave ovens people have? Then when they eventually do fail you are initially pleasantly surprised how cheap the replacements are and spend 40 quid on another one. You will be very lucky to get two years out of it this time however.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brazil? Football?

    Only people running CRTs around here would use the FIFA Cup as an excuse to replace their tellies, and even so, most people replaced theirs in the LAST FIFA Cup. And some are still paying for them in 60 monthly installments.

    "Nothing is too expensive if they fit in the monthly budget" is often heard around here.

  21. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Maybe consumers are just a bit more savvy and aware of manufacturers, marketers and retailers use the specification index as a means to sell stuff at exorbitant rates?

    Besides, money is still tight?

  22. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Just like the CD

    With the switch to digital and HD almost everyone dumped the old CRT and bought a HD flat screen. Much like everyone buying stuff they had on tape or LP again on CD.

    This was not "growth" that they could expect to keep going forever, it was a one time spike in sales.

    Attempts to repeat it with 3D/Smart TV have failed (along with DVD audio).

  23. Ben Rosenthal

    My front room is still rockin' a big arse CRT.

    We don't really watch a lot on there, I do have a PS3, but Rocksmith2014 probably performs better on the older kit anyway.

    I do want a HD telly, but there's always something more important going on.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Worth getting

      I went HD partly due to PS3 (other reason was worn tube)

      Looks great

  24. Tannin

    Make something we want

    If one of the manufacturers ever gets a clue, they will start producing a product that (a) none of the others have, and (b) people can't get and actually want to buy. Now there are probably lots of examples for lots of different niches, but just to mention one - I know dozens of people who, like me, would queue up to pay top dollar for a screen with some decent height in it - i.e., a screen more usefully shaped than the ubiquitous current wide and shallow things which are fine for passive consumption and rather painful for real work.

    OK, OK, that's not a TV, it's a computer monitor, but in a tough market a sale is a sale, yes? Are you listening Samsung, LG, Phillips, and all the rest of you?

    (silence)

    Apparently not.

  25. Dave Hilling

    Why replace what works?

    I have an older Toshiba 52inch DLP 1080i TV its about 9 years old. I may just now have to replace it after it is making an audible electric arcing sound. I managed to keep it alive an extra two years by just swapping in some 50 cent resistors when it fried. If I am lucky maybe I can resurrect it again with some more cheap parts and if I can it will stay as long as I can keep it running.

    1. Piro

      Re: Why replace what works?

      Audible arcing sound, maybe it's the lamp?

    2. Sporkinum

      Re: Why replace what works?

      I have a 52" 1080i Mitsubishi that I bought for next to nothing used. Been using it two and a half years now and still haven't had to replace the bulb. If I ever decide to replace it, it will be with another cheap used one.

  26. Robert Halloran

    Echoing earlier comments: the first wave of folks replacing analog, tube TVs for digital LCD/LED screens has certainly run its course. The second wave of upgrades to bigger/shinier/smarter screens is pretty well through as well.

    Given the longer life of these units and the utter failure of 3D or 4K to gain any serious foothold, there's no realistic "third wave" of purchases happening to drive production. There will be the incremental traffic for the last-adopters, the added-screen-for-the-kids-room, and the occasional replacement. This isn't going to justify the past production levels that went into replacing all those CRT units.

  27. Daz555

    Surely TV sales just tick along nicely and every generation of tech go mad for a few years - colour, flatter squarer tube, widescreen, LCD, etc.

    So we have been through the last "let's all upgrade phase" and are now all just sitting back and watching TV. This can have come as no surprise to the industry.

    I have bought 3 TVs in 20 years and still have all 3 - a 22" CRT, a 32"LCD and a 40"LED. Unless one breaks I can't see me buying another one for many many years.

    The CRT is kept for lightgun games for those interested!

  28. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Develop, expand, consolidate, decay

    Nothing new here, let's move on.

  29. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Gee has it ever occurred the these dolts that Televisions are long term appliances the only reason I even have an LCD TV to start with. Was due to my old CRT conking out again. From the same fault that it had with-in the first week I had it Four Years prior. And that was like 2006?! The TV I have now is no great shakes it only hits up to 720p and 1080i. I do have a PS3 so I guess I have access to BlueRay 1080p stuff. Sans stuff that was ripped to 1080p. Though in these instances I actually prefer the lighter weight of the 720p Rips. Which even on a full 1080p Screen I never felt that I was losing anything by going 720p. Now Games that actually ran in, and at 1080p were great. But that particular Television, from Samsung also had its problems and has since gone. My original no-name TV is still kicking as strong as ever. And until the day it doesn't. I feel no need to be running off to buy another....

    Gee I wonder how Refrigerator, Dishwasher, and Laundry Machine Makers never seem to complain about never selling as many of those Appliances Year-on-Year?!

  30. Hagglefoot
    Big Brother

    Its not just size that matters

    Lets get to the root of why perhaps the sales have plummeted.

    1. Everybody has a 50" they barely watch because they are either on the internet or tapping on phone to social networks.

    2. We got stung, 720 became 1080, became Smart and now 4K with 8K sitting in the wings. seeing as we are mostly doing point 1 above who wants the added expense.

    3. Smart and 3D we got just enough to make a buck and nothing more. Post purchase upgrades to the smart or come to that the 3D firmware so confusing or non existant that people cant be bothered with it, most just want to utter the words make it go. And dont get me started on the slow EPGs.

    4. Standard is not standard, connect the hdmi from one source to a destination and you might get lucky if its the same brand otherwise suffer in some minor technicality.

    5. Interactive TV, multiview and other stuff the promise of blueray. But here we are years later and still not there, just like each mediocre release of games machine with a long list of features that never materialises.

    6. And lastly Granny, Grannies got the dosh? but oh my gosh just look at all those buttons, regular calls to the son in law on how to change channels. Let alone when you switch it on and the audio auto configures with the last volume setting blowing poor old gran out of her slippers screaming take it back take it back.

    Basically the people have got tired of shelling out for promises in a marketplace where they are not sure the job they have will be compatible with them. So why make the big spend. For a few who will always shell out for bleeding edge tech this may not be a problem but for the gaffaw gaffaw, edge of the crust look at what I got non technical, Next shopping, VW/Audi driving (who nearly always buy panasonic too) otherwise known as the lower think their upper middle class, which accounts for most people that close to the wherewithall to consider the purchase. Well they already have 3 generations of wide screen in their homes and have probably run out of space on the walls unless you can really really convince them its worth it.

    Otherwise we would all like that 8ft screen that gives the feeling of immersion, somewhere in the home. But you know what, for a quarter of the cost you can experience the real thing. So for now, 1080p with 5.1 surround, Blueray and 3D is enough. I remember the price point being £400 now its a whopping £800 - 1200 and for that to see the same things I saw for £400 does not make me or probably anyone else feel its VFM.

  31. Sultitan

    Walls

    In no time at all our walls will be screens. But imagine the bandwidth of a sitting room.

  32. DrBobMatthews

    Why would people wish to pay $500 and more for a TV set when the program material on most channels is rubbish. Dumbed down programming is just as bad watched on a new spiffy TV as on an old one. There are more important things in life than the latest technology.

  33. DrBobMatthews

    Like everything in our over indulgent consumer society we con ourselves in thinking we get value for money. We don't all we get is an industry that is run by PR and marketing spivs whose only interest is to part the idiot consumer form his/her hard earned cash. The only "value" in the transaction is the profit for every one in the supply chain.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smart TV's were all hype just like...

    ...Ultrabooks. So I for one am happy that TV sales are crashing as it may force manufacturers to do a little soul searching and focus back on what they do best.... Which is shipping monster sized TV's. As there is nothing else to compete with that. I for one, am so sick of the hype of smart phones and tablets. I'm old-school, I want the largest damn screen I can get for gaming. That wish is only further confirmed by learning that Oculus has been bought by the 'bitch'... So much for VR, instead gimme a 100 inch screen for a grand!

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