Olympic records tumble as TV sales surge

As usual, armchair sports fans drive demand for big screens


With the Beijing Olympics almost a week old, we're being inundated by the usual floods of press releases from electronics manufacturers pointing out just how popular the games are making their products.

The latest comes from Japan, where the market for flat-panel TVs and next-gen video recorders is a good six months ahead of Europe, so it's at least worth a passing glance.

Opening sales

In spite of fears that the anticipated spike in sales was never going to arrive, electronics firms in Japan are reporting a 40 per cent year-on-year increase in demand for new TVs in the week of 28 July.

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That was followed by a similar surge the following week, which companies are attributing to a desire to watch the opening ceremony.

Phone effect

Disk-based recorders, including BD machines showed almost identical growth over the same period, indicating that the assertion is probably correct.

However, suggestions that mobile phone sales rose for the same reason – most new phones in Japan come with 1-seg digital TV tuners – seem spurious. Anecdotal evidence shows that customers are dissatisfied with the poor reception on TV phones and are generally leaving the function unused.