As time continues to slip into the future and a new year dawns, it is often the time when people think of both the past and the future the most, particularly when it comes to the appliances and gadgets that make up our homes and places of business.
Skilled electrical installers, when working on important repairs or wiring jobs, will often see the types of equipment, appliances and electronics plugged into the mains, and as they get more experienced, these types of equipment will change, often in dramatic ways.
The living room at the start of 2024 may be different than the one seen at the end of the year, and with that in mind, here are some of the most popular appliances that do not see use in the same way anymore.
From the 1980s until very recently, it was almost impossible to find a living room without some kind of portable media player.
Starting with the enduring VHS videotape players and its rather infamous format war with Betamax, the centrepiece of the living room has been a television in progressively larger sizes, connected to a portable form of media that can be stored in the same place.
First, it was video cassettes, then it was laserdiscs and video CDs before Digital Versatile Discs became the standard for watching films and television shows for over two decades, later complemented by the high-definition Blu-Ray format.
However, with digital distribution and later streaming services becoming the norm for watching television, as well as the idea of a separate media box giving way to smart TVs, the idea of a portable media box is actually, surprisingly starting to die out, although plenty do still exist.
Similar to how the need for a DVD player is disappearing but the appliances have not completely gone away, the desktop computer used to be an essential part of the home from the early 1990s up until the 2010s.
In the first true wave of the internet, many families bought their first computer as their gateway to the World Wide Web.
They were huge and needed to be plugged into a modem which itself needed to be plugged into the telephone line, making them a centrepiece of a dining room or dedicated computer room.
The computer has not necessarily left the home, but laptops are typically the computer of choice for most people to work on, as it does all of the basic housekeeping duties a computer would need but does not need its own dedicated space.
Really basic tasks such as looking up information or sending emails could even be done on a smartphone, so it may become the case that the computer in general stops being as essential as it used to be.
Not every home had one, but if people had albums of holiday photographs they wanted to show the whole family, their choices were either to thumb through an album or load a slide projector with an entire album’s worth of potentially quite blurry photographs.
Effectively every aspect of the slide projector is obsolete; film cameras have long been replaced by digital ones, slide projectors have been replaced by portable projectors, and even when they haven’t, many smart TVs can display pictures taken from a camera or a smartphone.