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08-13-2006, 04:26 PM
Last week NyTimes magazine had an interesting article on Tube TV, and how it is heading for extinction much faster than anyone expected. This an edited version of the article:

Picture Tubes Are Fading Into the Past

This year, the number of TV models in the United States that use glass cathode-ray tubes to produce an image has been reduced sharply.


“After the holidays, the days of picture-tube TV’s are gone,” said Geoff Shavey, the TV buyer for Costco. “One year from now, we will not sell picture-tube TV’s.” Costco, a discount warehouse chain, , has already cut its picture-tube offerings to three models this year, from 10 in 2005.

Instead, Costco and other retailers are selling growing numbers of wide-screen and liquid-crystal display TV’s, which are more expensive than traditional TV’s. “The demand for picture-tube TV’s is far off from what it was one year ago”, he added

Consumer electronics companies also want out of the tube TV business, in part because profit margins have become so thin. The end of picture-tube TV’s is accelerating faster than a lot of us expected,” said Randy Waynick, a senior vice president for Sony, which offered 10 tube models two years ago, will pare that number to two next year. “Picture-tube TV sales reductions were far greater than forecast,” Mr. Waynick said.

Panasonic is getting out of the picture-tube business altogether and Toshiba has cut its picture-tube models to 13 — from 35 last year — .

New technologies seldom replace their predecessors entirely, and picture-tube TV’s will still be available for those who prefer them. But they will increasingly be available only discount stores, and will be sold under house brand names and by less prominent manufacturers like Funai, which owns the Symphonic, Sylvania and Emerson brands.

“We think there is a continual business for us in C.R.T. TV’s,” said Greg Bosler, executive vice president of the TTE Corporation, which owns the RCA brand. Even so, the company expects to double its flat-panel offerings next year. It will reduce its tube models to about 15 in 2007, from 26 this year.