The TV used to be the center of family entertainment. Parents, children, relatives, and sometimes acquaintances came together first in front of the tube set, later in front of the flat screen, and watched together one-time events like the moon landing, Andreas Brehmes penalty in July 1990 and how men betting that ...? wanted to taste the colors of crayons. The TV was so simple that the entire room was aligned with it - sofas, chairs and chairs were placed so that you could see the screen well.

The television is still in German living rooms today. But he is often no longer in the center of interest. Even when people gather in front of the device to look at something together, it has to share the attention with other screens: those of smartphones, tablets, laptops. During the crime scene, spectators are busy tweeting, while during the football match, WhatsApp is blamed on the lineup, and during the Netflix series, a review is read in parallel. And sometimes people sit in front of the TV, but each person streams something else - one a YouTube video, the other a music clip on TikTok, the next an Instagram story. In some households you will not even find a TV anymore.

In view of this development, it is not surprising that people rarely buy televisions. In 2019, it is said to be two percent less worldwide than in the previous year, as predicted by the Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK). Turnover is also declining: TV sets are on average getting cheaper and consumers are spending less on them, say market researchers. This can be observed, among other things, with televisions with high-resolution 4K screen: The are now sold more often, but are also significantly cheaper. GfK speaks of an increasing "competitive pressure". If you want to say it less bulky, you could also say: There are many televisions, but fewer customers and therefore discounts.

Hey, the TV is still there!

For a long time the television industry fought against the loss of meaning with superlatives: Look, the screen is even bigger! Even higher resolution! Even flatter! At the International Radio Exhibition (Ifa) in Berlin, this trend can be observed for years - also in 2019, the manufacturers again such TV devices hawk, like with other features such as award-winning technologies or smart Sprachassistenten.Als you wanted the visitors say: Hey, the TV is still there, now buy it please again one.

After this strategy was rather mediocre and the 8K televisions are still a niche product according to GfK, the manufacturers at the Ifa are now also trying something else: In addition to huge screens, they rely on adaptability - they present models that no longer stand out as TVs in the living room , Instead of the black rectangles that are otherwise known, the TVs merge with their surroundings. It seems as if the TV, which dominated the cabinet walls for decades, should be just one piece of furniture among many.

Soetwa The Frame by Samsung. The South Korean company has unveiled a model that, when not used in its actual function as a television, transforms it into a digital picture frame. Users can then have one of more than 1,000 artworks displayed on them. Also a TV set of the Japanese manufacturer Sharp and one of the Chinese company Changhong can be converted into digital galleries in the future. Perhaps an unrecognized gap in the market. Maybe as unnecessary as other digital picture frames.

Transparency as a demonstration effect

Panasonichat immediately developed a screen that you can not see when turned off: The display is transparent. If the TV is straight, you can look through it. He is not yet on the market, but visitors can already marvel at a first prototype at the Ifa: they then see a bit of decoration behind the screen. Certainly a nice show-off effect. But decoration is actually so anyway that sieauffällt.

LG wants to make the TV disappear completely out of the field of vision: the Signature model allows users to move in and out. The TV rolls up in an oblong sideboard. Well, you will not see the TV set anymore - but the metal-looking box already. If the question then arises, if one does not rather forego the television and rather buy a piece of furniture that is a bit more multifunctional.

And the Serif, another Samsung TV, looks a bit like a 1950s or '60s TV set, a time when the TV was still framed in matching wood or discreetly vanished behind closet doors. The frame comes in colors like burgundy red or mint green. The South Korean company is staging the television on the Ifa in similar colored environments, so that it is full in it.

In the center of family life, the TV set will probably not be moved back with these approaches. But maybe the manufacturers also hope that the TV will be so inconspicuous that you completely forget that you have one - and another buys one.