Panasonic will no longer be making analog televisions, not particularly surprising since technology and media have been steadily converting to digital for a few years now. All of the major manufacturers are concentrating on the various high-definition television technologies, with Panasonic pushing its plasma televisions (such as the massive 103-inch set). The Panasonic announcement echoes Nikon’s recent announcement that it was ending production of traditional film cameras and the Konica Minolta move this week to pull out of the camera business completely.
The move to digital is a universal trend that has been going on for some time, but it seems to be gaining strong momentum. In 2005 digital music sales were $1.1 billion, more than triple 2004’s sales. That, along with iPod’s 4th quarter 2005 sales, make obvious the progress of the digital-music transition. This trend is also pronounced in the movie business, as notable directors push for digital filming and digital projection–George Lucas, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, to name a few. The home film experience is changing as well, with new high-definition discs coming this year to play on all those HDTVs. And lets not forget the success of satellite radio or that with the emergence of broadband, TV programs are now being offered online.
None of this is a shock. But it’s worth taking a step back and looking at how far we have come in the last decade. The question is where will we go next? What companies and industries will abandon analog for the digital future next?