Have You Got Enough Televisions Already?

Television sales in Australia in 2009 were worth more than $3.2 billion. We're currently seeing 3D TV spruiked as the latest reason to upgrade, but do those numbers indicate that we don't really need a new television for a while?

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James Wells at consumer electronics trade title Current quotes some recent statistics that indicate just how much we like buying TVs down under. According to market research firm GfK, that $3.2 billion in TV sales equates to around 3 million TVs. It also means that TV sales in Australia outstripped all other categories of consumer electronics combined. And that figure has risen pretty rapidly: according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2003-2004 the total market for TV sets was around $1.3 billion.

While that might sound like good news for people who flog televisions, there's a sting in the tale if you're a retailer: the price people are paying for TVs is also steadily declining. Over the last four years, the average selling price for an LCD display has dropped from $3000 to $1000 — a familiar scenario for anyone who has taken their shiny new TV home and then seen it for a much lower price two weeks later.

There's been a number of major drivers for people replacing their TVs in recent years. The switch from analogue to digital broadcasting has been the impetus for upgrading in many cases. While you can generally switch to digital simply by adding a set-top box, it seems many of us view the need to migrate as a neat excuse to buy a new screen instead. However, with three quarters of Australians now able to receive digital broadcasts, that's not likely to be such an incentive for future purchases.

The general shift away from bulky CRT TVs to flat-panel displays has also been a major factor, to the point where the only CRT models you'll be able to find new these days will be small-screen, no-name models sold in obscure electrical stores. There's no disputing that flat panels offer a host of benefits (lower power consumption and less wasted space being the obvious ones), but again, once people have shifted to using them, there's not necessarily a reason to buy another one in a hurry.

The one saving grace may be that with LCD displays so cheap, we don't seem to think twice about adding another screen to the home. Not only do we favour multiple monitors at work, we drop a TV in pretty much any location we can think of — especially given how low the prices have become.

I'll admit to coming in firmly on the low side of the numbers here — there's just one TV in my house — but I suspect I'm a statistical aberration. How many televisions do you already own, and could you imagine buying more? Tell us in the comments.

GfK confirms the TV market is in decline [Current]

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    Buying a new TV is one of those things I keep meaning to do and instead get distracted by more interesting technology.

    I still have a just the one 59cm CRT TV (70-odd kg) that I bought in '98, with a digital set-top box. Being a flatscreen CRT, I thought it was awesome at the time - no curved screen for me!

    Only 1 TV in my household (of 2). Bought the 42 incher Digital HD Plasma a few years ago when prices finally dropped below the $2k mark. Cant see the need to upgrade until this one blows up, it does everything i need of it, and 3D tv is just a gimmick, cause the manufacturers/retailers know that new tv sales have peaked and their clutching at straws to introduce people to new technology.

    Its like VHS > DVD > BluRay, VHS to DVD was such a huge jump that it took off, whereas BluRay has been a lot slower as the jump between DVD and BluRay isnt worth it for the average consumer. a 59cm CRT to a 42 inch Plasma/LCD was a massive jump, but 42 inch to 50 inch LED LCD 3d TV is not enough to entice the average consumer to make the jump again.

      I'm with Steve. We upgraded from our largish CRT a couple of years ago and went for the ~106cm plasma job that seemed to be the right size for our quite big lounge area. Good display for viewing by the 5 in our household. No reason for a bigger screen and no technological imperative to upgrade IMHO. 3D? Give me a break!

      And there is just one TV in the house - plus 5 desktop PCs and an assortment of laptops and netbooks(!) that outnumber the fixed screens. No TV in the bedroom and no computers either.

      Just recently, my mother offered us a new 81cm LCD for our bedroom. Errrr... no thanks.

        yeah i'm realistically a 1 TV house.

        got my lovely 46" bravia 2 years ago when we moved in (the move killed my old CRT)

        i say realistically because the spare room has a old CRT i inherited from my parents when they upgraded at home but its only been turned on once in the last year.

        with only 2 people in the house there is no need for 2 TV's. like lostincanberra the number of computers out weighs people and realistically wanting to watch completely different things doesn't happen too much plus i have a media centre setup so any of our computers can be a perfectly good Tv through the home network.

        all that and of course the comfy couch is in the lounge room.

        I do however really want a projector.

        i cant see any reason for another TV unless there is a HUGE upgrade benifit

    We only upgraded to LCD screen because only one of our 20+ year old TVs had the plugs to use a set top box with.

    We have a flat screen in the bedroom and a set top box with a CRT TV in the lounge. The other TVs are 32cm and in the kitchen and dining room. These don't have the capability to add a set top box but we will not be replacing them any time soon.

    how is dropping "a TV in pretty much any location we can think of" a saving grace. we're just fat lazy and stupid. and getting fatter, lazier and stupider.

    do yourself a favour and buy a hundred classic paperbacks instead.

    I dont even own 1 TV. Counting 3 years now.

    Want to get on next year.

    I have a monitor if I want to watch anything I really want to watch.

    Now that we've moved into together we have two TV's - one 47" LCD, the other a slightly older 49" plasma. To be fair however the LCD spends a majority of it's time (such as right now) acting as giant monitor - makes photo editing a lot easier.

    The amount of actual broadcast TV we watch is minimal - far more used for DVD and digital streaming.

    When my 68cm CRT sqaure old Teac died in early 2006 I decided to wait before leaping in and buying some massive flat panel display. I got rid of Foxtel (no point paying for that without a TV :-) Then I decided to see if I really needed a television at all. 4.5 years later and I've (almost) never looked back. Major live sporting events in my home is the only thing I miss. But if there is rarely something that i simply MUST see I arrange to join friends at another house, or go to the pub/sports bar.

    The other 98% of the time... not having a TV in the house was one of THE stand out best decisions I've ever made. After 35+ years of watching TV... LOTS of TV... you don't realise how much of a habit it is. Just like smoking. You don't NEED to do it. But it's what you've always done. Walk in a night. Turn on the mid-control-zombie-box... turn it off 5-6 hours later. It's just what people "do". Took me a full year I reckon before that autonomous habit was gone. Now it's the polar opposite. I walk into people houses and am amazed how much of thier existence, exists around telelvision, and TV programming. It's very strange and distrubing behavour to witness when you're not part of it.

    I no longer tell people I don't have a TV. They simply CANNOT graps how that's possible. And they forever treat you as some weird eccentric. When people ask me.. did you see "the game" last night... I just say "No I missed it...", or "No, I was busy..." No lies. And it's easier somehow than trying to justify yourself, or feel like you even NEED to.

    Anyway... put me down for (0) televisions in my house. For now, and evermore...

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