back to article Top telly tech fails to drive new set sales

The technologies telly makers are promoting in a bid to persuade punters to replace existing TVs are failing to excite consumers. LED backlight technology, internet connectivity and 3D are all being pitched up by vendors in the hope consumers will splash out on new sets. 3D is being pushed in particular, but according to …


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  1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge


    I think this echos what people have been saying for a while. Current mainstream home entertainment (TVs, DVDs, CDs, etc) are good enough for Joe Public.

    Geeks, Hi-Fi buffs, etc. will no doubt say that Blu-Ray, Hi-Def, etc. are *so* much better. But Joe Public doesn't care.

    I suspect all that Joe Public wants now, is just lower price. (Oh, and for it to last a long time - just like their old, CRT TV did)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Errr ... A Non e-mouse ...

      What a pity that 'Joe Public' has (according to you) no style or class then.

      My partner and her 76 year old father are neither (so called, derogatory) 'geeks' nor 'Hi-Fi buffs' (cliche) but both bought HD TVs, Blu-Ray players and HD audio surround systems the moment they saw/heard mine. Thankfully some people have aspirations above the mediocre!

      If 'Joe Public' prefers the cheap status quo then why isn't Britain still transmitting monochrome 425 line TV and recording on VHS cassette? DVD was very upmarket in 1999!

    2. Figgus

      "I suspect all that Joe Public wants now, is just lower price."

      Actually, I'm going to throw out that people want bigger screens at a lower price. Given a choice between a 50" and 65", most people would take the 65" if the price/size ratio was the same.

  2. hugo tyson

    Modal reason for purchase?

    Was one of the factors "My old TV is broken and there's a Grand Prix this afternoon?"

    I mean, how many 'tards buy before the old one is broken?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      one does not need to be a 'tard

      My old tv, a 32 inch digital crt jobbie that took 2 people to lift, was perfectly functional when i chose to replace it with a 42" flat 1080p one, that was a fraction of the weight and took up much less space.

      It's rarer nowadays, but some people are still replacing functional crt's with a, much bigger, flatscreen. Even moving that old smaller flatscreen into the bedroom, etc and getting a larger one for the lounge.

      1. LaeMing

        Fair point,

        but I would argue that the heavy, space-and-power consuming CRT is "broken" by being far-obsolete enough for there to be very-noticable benefits in an upgrade. An upgrade from a CFL-backlit LCD to a LED-backlit TV, for example, is a far far far smaller thing in terms of benefits.

        While going CRT-to-LCD was a major upgrade for me. As much as I would like a LED-backlit screen (even lower power, lower profile) the bump is still well in the MEH teritory so I will be waiting for my existing unit to visibly degrade or for a really compelling tech. to come out before I pony up the dough. If my old CRT is anything to go by, that could take another decade!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    "all the rest were LCDs"

    Mostly with worse picture quality than either my 10 year old Philips 21" CRT or my 20+ year old 15" CRT.

    Mostly less usable than the first SAMSUNG I had years ago, which at least had an easily accessible (one keypress) "sleep" function rather than it being buried in six levels of menu.

    Still, it's progress, right?

  4. Code Monkey

    It's all cobblers anyway

    It doesn't matter how much you spend on a telly when the overwhelming majority of content is utter arsewater.

    Is LED backlighting ever going to make My Family funny? Is 3-D going to stop you wanting to smash things as soon as Adrian Chiles opens his stupid mouth? Is internet connectivitiy going to allow you to download a less smug Simon Cowell?

    1. Mark 65

      LED backlighting

      I'd be interested to know how many models are backlit as opposed to edge lit LED models. I'm led to believe there is a big difference in the potential picture quality (rivaling Plasma for blacks) with a much lower power consumption.

  5. Valerion

    Sounds right

    I just bought a new TV.

    It is not LED (I prefer Plasma over LCD/LCD with different lighting).

    It is not 3D (couldn't care less about that)

    It is not internet connected (my Blu-ray player does all that if I could be bothered to connect it to the internet. I have no desire to watch YouTube on my TV really and I get iPlayer etc through Virgin Media).

    So by avoiding all the latest-and-greatest features I don't want or need, I was able to get a stunning 50" Panasonic for under £550. I guess I'm not alone in this thought process.

    1. LaeMing

      That is, of course, the greatest thing about dubiously-usefun new feature-tech.

      It drives down the prices of the stuff we actually want.

  6. Drefsab


    who would have thought it people dont give a damn about buying something there is little to no content for, you have to pay £200 for a pair of glasses to watch it, and just isnt all that good when you using it.

    People want to be able to sit down and chill out in front of the tv, they dont want to mess about with 3D glasses, they want to be able to have friends and family over and still watch stuff without farting about.

    3D is just a fad its never been done really well and as long as you need glasses like that it will never be a major driver.

  7. Magnus_Pym

    If they want people to buy tellies...

    ... they aught to throw some money at the content providers. It's hardly worth buying a new telly for a couple of hours watch-able programming in a month.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hang on

    ''3D sets accounted for just four per cent of Q1 telly shipments.''

    But how many of those consumers bought specifically because of the 3D, or did they just like a tele and it happened to have 3D capability.

    I'll guess at the answer

  9. leon stok

    It'll come

    Within a year most tellies will have all of this (give or take LED back-light due to various display techs) and it will be just such a conscious choice as HD(ready) was for most buyers.

    You'll have early adopters caring about it, and the rest will just buy their new telly when a new one is needed, not when something new is available.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Does anyone else think that LED backlighting looks worse than fluorescent? When I was shopping for a new telly I thought all the LED ones looked a bit too cold/blue for my liking. I realise this could've been the way they were set up, but they all seemed to suffer from it. Aside from better contrast when viewing in a pitch black room, what are the advantages?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      White LEDs

      Agreed, though I don't know about TVs. But my laptop has an RGB LED backlight which is the right colour balance after adjustment. This cannot be done with white leds.

      My car has LED lights everywhere replacing the old tungstens for cabin, number plate lighting etc. They are horrible compared to filament lamps, far too cold and blue and therefore less effective and comfortable to live with. White LED technology seems to be at about at the level fluorescents were 40 years ago, before they'd managed to sort out the phosphor coatings to make a friendlier colour.

  11. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Benefits, not features

    We don't buy stuff for it's features, we but it because it gives us benefits. So, for assorted items:

    Feature: higher fuel efficiency. Benefit: lower cost

    Feature: thinner screen (irrespective of why it's thinner). Benefit: takes less space

    Feature: faster CPU. Benefit: does stuff quicker

    apart from the following

    Feature: new, expensive tech. Benefit: bragging rights

    there's little in the way of benefits to getting a 3D/led/internet TV. The programmes are the same, the remote control does nothing new and you still have 3 platefuls of spaghetti hanging down behind it. Until the TV makers come up with some BENEFITS of their new technological features, there's little point trying to sell them and even less point in buying them.

    Why is this so hard for them to understand?

  12. Simon 6
    Thumb Down

    An accurate survey? wow!

    Movie companies wish us to embrace 3D because it makes pirating more difficult. 3D films as they stand are nothing but an eye-strain so until it is more like Star Trek's Holodeck I'll never be interested.

    Also, when people start coming out with glasses to prevent 3D films being 3D you should know you'e on to a loser...

    1. Ged T

      @Simon 6 and Accurate Survey

      And I'd add to the "movie companies" comment that they see 3D as a means to "re-imagine" the stock of titles they already have, either through software generated 3D applied to existing content or via the 're-make' route.

      After all, when you've invested so much money in the technology, you've got precious left for employing creative, original writers or adapting new, original stories, eh?

  13. -tim

    Country of origin?

    Where did NOT "Made in China" rate? Was it an issue at all?

  14. Red Bren

    I know I keep saying it...

    Upgrade fatigue.

    There's too many new features coming turning up year-on-year. LCD/Plasma, Digital Ready, HD Ready, HD Freeview/Freesat Ready, 3D ready.

    Is the average punter that bought a new telly a couple of years ago to watch HD Freeview really going to shell out again so soon?

    There's already talk about next generation 4K2K TVs, so why buy one now when it will be obsolete before the guarantee runs out?

    My current TV has effectively become a glorified monitor. It's eventual replacement will be a big, high quality monitor.

    Does anyone really want to feel like they're sitting in the middle of a Jeremy Kyle audience?

  15. Wortel


    Your average potential customer simply doesn't care because their current kit still works fine and does not need replacing. If it ain't broken...

  16. the spectacularly refined chap

    Punters don't care

    Your typical punter expects a telly to last 10-15 years. The industry have persuaded people to buy an awful lot of upgrades over the last decade - some useful such as LCD TVs, some necessary such as integrated digital (who wants to mess around with set top boxes and two remotes) and some that are essentially pointless con jobs (HD compressed to the point where is looks no better than analogue SD).

    The industry can't complain when people refuse to buy the latest unimportant gimmick - the market is saturated with not-very-old TVs. Customers are now tired of upgrading and much as the industry may seek to change things, they haven't persuaded folks that TVs need upgrading every three years just as a computer does.

    1. Steve Coburn


      As a typical punter who only 'upgraded' their previous CRT TV when it broke can I just agree with this.

      Can I also ask where do you get 3D content from? Sky has one channel they only provide to customers with their full package. I don't think any one else others a 3D channel (in the UK at least). Do you have to buy special disks (and therefore a special player as well)?

  17. Jim 59

    Get the Led out

    Nobody gives a stuff about "3D" that is rendered on a 2D screen. One day there will be real 3D projected out into the room. In the meantime just give us the OLED already

    1. Figgus

      This is my title.

      Yeah, they'll project 3D images into the room just as soon as they amend the laws of physics that require you to bounce light off of something to see it. I love Star Trek as much as the next nerd, but you're going to see people "jacking in" for immersive entertainment long before you see functional holographic projectors.

  18. Frank Butcher

    Inet +1

    Yes to the inet on TV, deffo for media playing ..but all the rest? Just give me a great picture and low Lectric Bill and me and PAt will be 'appy. I'm still using a 22" WS CRT non freeview and would like OLED please first before 3d. And why do you still have to get extra speakers with every TV as all the inbuilts are so crappy??Thats a Massive con. Den wudda been proud of that.

  19. Jon H

    Wrong features stopped me buying a new TV this year

    I was looking at Panasonic's 2010 plasma TVs last year but heard the 2011 models would have better displays so I waited. Hmm, yes they do but they've also lost all but 1 scart socket (the TV would be my first HD device so everything I have still uses scart), FreeSat HD has been removed from all but their stupidly expensive 3D sets (I'm loathed to pay Sky an extra £120 a year for HD and there's no cable where I live, oh and I'm not paying the 3D premium for something I won't use) and the VGA computer input which would be great for my VGA only laptop was also taken off.

    So I'm still using my old Sony CRT today.

  20. Ged T

    Can someone please let the Beeb know, before Wimbledon?

    Hopefully, someone from the BBC might pick up on this survey and decide that there are better things to do with OUR licence fee money than help (promote) Sony's 3D broadcast vision - I know there's a long-standing relationship between these two but FFS... - Tech over content, yet again, seems so unnecessary.

  21. Anonymous Coward


    I'd like a new telly, but I'm skint and my Samsung 28" widescreen just won't die.

    It's 15 years old and still puts out a great picture.

    I do tend to refer to it as our 3d telly, cos it's 28" wide and 3' deep.

    1. LaeMing

      I like big CRTs

      and they just won't die.

  22. Rattus Rattus

    My TV

    is still a 20 year old CRT, and will remain that way until it lets out it's magic smoke. I watch so little TV it's just not worth getting a new one before then.

  23. Patrick R

    got pwned by Full HD.

    Too much people now realize they sit too far of the telly to see any difference in 1080p. Still at the time they spent the money to get ... that status logo, because they had "aspirations above the mediocre". I'm very glad I did not.

  24. Matt Ryan

    Apple Can Make Crap Sell

    Stick and Apple badge on it and a shiney case - that'll sell boat loads of them

  25. jason 7

    Why spend.......

    ...more than £400 on a TV that isnt designed to last more then 3 years?

    My journey into LCD TVs started in 2005 and so far I've had several replacement parts and three replacement TVs. Luckily they all happend while still in warranty (though it was still a trial to get it sorted). I think I spent around £700.

    I wouldnt spend that much again on a LCD TV. When I see folks spending £1000+ on a TV the word 'Muppet' springs to mind.

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