The analogue television set has edged closer to extinction after DSG International, owner of the Currys, PC World and Dixons chains, said it would no longer sell the product as demand for digital televisions continues to gather pace.
With the digital switch-over looming large over the electronics industry and high-definition television (HDTV) stealing the headlines in the broadcasting sector, demand for analogue television sets has plummeted. It is perhaps no surprise that DSG, the country's largest electronics retailer, has decided to pull the plug on the older platform as its customers prepare for switch-over in 2012. Only 10 per cent of the 2 million televisions the company has sold over the past year have been analogue sets.
Yet DSG said that a third of all televisions sold in the UK are analogue, a statistic the retailer described as "inappropriate" given the impending analogue switch-off.
Peter Keenan, the managing director of Currys, said: "We are concerned at the high volumes of analogue TVs still on sale in the UK and we favour early transition to a digital-only range. Digital provides a better deal for customers and reduces waste by removing the requirement for soon-to-be-obsolete analogue tuners in our television range and the unnecessary purchase of extra digital set-top boxes."
The price of digital television sets has fallen dramatically over recent years, with a standard set costing as little as £150. However, a number of customers looking to buy a new television are still nervous about digital technology, so DSG will equip its stores with an information campaign to advise confused customers about the benefits of the newer technology.
Ford Ennals, the chief executive of Digital UK, which is co-ordinating the digital switch-over, said: "This announcement is further evidence that analogue television's days are numbered."
While a number of technologies have fallen by the wayside over recent years, the history of the analogue television set is much richer and can be traced back to the 1920s, when John Logie Baird first demonstrated how the technology could transmit moving images in 1925. It was not until the launch of satellite television services in the late 1980s that the limited functionality of the analogue signal, which only supports five channels in the UK, was thrown into the limelight. Yet despite the progress of Sky and the launch of ITV Digital in 1998 under the ONDigital brand, the analogue television maintained its position as the dominant platform for television until early this decade, when the popular Freeview service introduced the wider public to digital television.