End of the line for the tube
`TV as we know it will disappear by the year 2000'. And revolutionary products are on sale now. Janet Knight reports
Saturday 16 August 1997
Not only will they have unrivalled sound and picture quality; you'll even be able to interact with the characters in your favourite soap. Sounds far-fetched? Well, maybe joining in the milking at Emmerdale is pushing it, but the technology to do so is not far away.
To give us a glimpse of what the future holds, Bang & Olufsen have unveiled the BeoCenter AV5, which incorporates a flat-screen TV, a radio, a CD player and a powerful loudspeaker system.
With a flick of the remote control you can swivel the screen to wherever you want. When you're ready to watch, an electronic curtain unveils the screen. If your room becomes lighter or darker, the TV automatically adjusts the picture. The CD player has CD-I (interactive) technology, allowing you to use CD videos and photo CDs, where images are stored on disk rather than in an album.
Of course, all this comes at a price, and at pounds 4,650 it is a hefty one. Not everyone will be rushing out with a chequebook when the new BeoCenter goes on sale next month, but most of us will soon own or rent a slim and wide TV screen, because the cathode-ray tubes that make our sets so bulky are being replaced with sleek, 10cm-deep plasma gas screens.
Philips are at the cutting edge of design and technology with their wide- screen 32PW9763C TV (price pounds l,899). It has full surround sound, crystal- clear pictures, a split screen allowing you to watch two TV programmes side by side, and an electronic TV guide.
Wide screens may be expensive now, but they will get cheaper - just as colour TV sets did in the Fifties, when they began by costing as much as a family car. Already prices are tumbling. Last year, customers paid pounds 2,000 for a 32in Philips model which now costs pounds l,400.
As fast as the design is changing, so, too, is the technology. Not content with five terrestrial TV stations and myriad cable and satellite channels, next year we see the arrival of digital TV. This will give access to hundreds of programmes from around the world, via a little box in the living-room. Who will operate it, and how much it will cost, are issues yet to be finalised.
"The TV as we know it will disappear by the year 2000," says Simon Poulter, of Philips. "Instead of 21in-wide sets we will have a variety of "intelligent" screens up to 42in wide, which we'll use for watching TV, gathering information and accessing our e-mail."
Bang & Olufsen's Malcolm Savill has a clear vision of the future for TV technology. "It's going to be really interactive," he predicts. "The viewer will be able to choose the storyline for a drama and whether they want a sad or happy ending.
"An interactive disc would also give you more information about what you're watching. If it's a wildlife programme, you may want to ask some questions about the animals, or the country."
He also believes that: "The future is in linking the computer and TV, so that you can channel programmes from the Internet... making it an information and entertainment centre capable of gathering material from all over the world."
The only thing blocking interactive TV is a disagreement within the industry as to the type of technology to be adopted as the standard: CD-I or DVD (digital versatile disc format, which looks to be the current favourite).
It's all a far cry from the first flickering black-and-white screens that were switched on when BBC TV was born, at 3pm on 2 November 1936. At that time, fewer than 400 sets could receive the service, via a transmitter with a 30-mile radius. A year later, 2,000 families huddled around monster-sized mahogany sets with 10-inch screens, marvelling at history being made with the coronation of George VI.
One of the first sets was HMV's Television Autoradiogram, which cost 120 guineas. By today's standards it could hardly be called user-friendly. The picture was reflected on to a mirror on the TV's lid, while the radio and record player snapped, crackled and popped like a breakfast cereal.
It wasn't long before HMV and Philips were mass-producing them, joined in the Fifties by Bang & Olufsen, whose original sets have become design classics. Sales continued to rise as sets dropped in price, from pounds 60 to as little as pounds 25. And when Elizabeth was crowned Queen in 1953, 20 million people tuned in. Now 98 per cent of the UK population has a TV set, and one in four households has three.
With 4 million new sets being sold each year, it won't be long before we're all reaching for the popcorn, dimming the lights and spending a night in at the movies.
Women born in 1950s facing severe financial hardship over pensions could have fates changed by Ros Altmann - should she choose to help
27 May 2015 03:49 PM
Women born in 1950s facing severe financial hardship over pensions could have fates changed by Ros Altmann - should she choose to help
28 May 2015 12:10 AM
The PPI scandal has already cost Britain’s banks around £24 billion
15 May 2015 08:30 PM
08 May 2015 10:30 PM
13 May 2015 07:34 AM
The Tories have appointed campaigner Ros Altmann to the post
30 April 2015 07:30 PM
06 May 2015 09:39 AM
One reader’s monthly direct debit charge has been increased by 62 per cent
05 May 2015 02:09 PM
Many Londoners who live in social housing estates are not allowed to switch because their landlord has ‘locked’ them in to buying from one supplier
24 April 2015 07:30 PM
01 May 2015 12:00 AM
More than £60m was paid out to more than 2 million prizewinners this month
28 April 2015 05:20 PM
Why can’t we just have open and honest charges, without all the cross-subsiding?
28 April 2015 03:50 PM
With the pound at a high against the euro, it pays to buy now before uncertainty post-election
17 April 2015 06:00 PM
23 April 2015 12:00 AM
Experts disagree about the 7% increase over the past year
22 April 2015 07:29 AM
Too many mortgages are being sold with misleading gimmicks
- 3 Alton Towers crash: Four seriously injured and 16 guests trapped as Smiler ride carriages collide
- 4 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...
£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...
£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...
Day In a Page
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool