Now, of course, you can carry thousands of songs in your pocket, and the days of the single-purpose MP3 player are numbered. Smartphones have pushed aside iPods as the music players of choice, just as digital music collections have shouldered aside CDs. Gone are the days when you had to spend an afternoon organizing your disks; now you can do it with a click, and cloud storage means you can access your tunes from anywhere.
Audiophiles may cling to their vinyl, but the rest of us should be more than ready to chuck physical media.
5. Cable or satellite TV
Most Americans don't see their paid televisions subscriptions as a "need," exactly, but it took the recession to get many to cut the cord.
Cable companies lost more than 2 million subscribers in 2010, according to research firm SNL Kagan. Some switched to satellite, but industry watchers say fewer new households -- mostly young people starting out -- are signing up for either cable or satellite.
And when you think about it, why should you pay for a bunch of channels you don't watch when you can get most of the ones you want online?
6. Desktop computer
Kiss your tower goodbye, because laptops, tablets and smartphones are making it obsolete. Given how most people use their devices, any advantage a desktop may offer in speed and performance is probably overkill.
Besides, it's all about mobility. Wireless hotspots mean you no longer have to be tied to your desk in order to work or play. Industry experts predict desktops will become harder to find, much as flat screens have muscled out analog TV sets.
That's not to say you should toss your current desktop in the trash. But when it inevitably dies or becomes so slow you want to kill it, a laptop or tablet will be the logical replacement. If you can't live without the big-screen home computing experience, you can buy a monitor and even a mouse to use with your portable device.
Email isn't going away, but often there are better ways to communicate. Texts and instant messages are more appropriate for short and urgent messages, particularly if you're trying to reach someone under 30. She may not have a smartphone to check her email, but she's almost certainly texting. Social-media sites are often a more suitable way to keep up with family and friends. Complex or sensitive topics should be discussed on the phone or, better yet, face to face.
And if you're having a major dispute with a business or government agency, old-school letters are the way to go. In some cases, such as a billing or credit dispute, committing the problem to paper is the only way to ensure your federal rights are preserved.
Liz Weston is the Web's most-read personal-finance writer. She is the author of several books, most recently "The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy" (find it on Bing). Weston's award-winning columns appear every Monday and Thursday, exclusively on MSN Money. Join the conversation and send in your financial questions on Liz Weston's Facebook fan page.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Don't need a TV? Yeah right. Try having a big screen experience on your cell phone.
Don't need a landline? In most natural disasters, it can save your life. Like insurance, I hope you don't need to use it but when you do, power (computer and VOIP) and cell phones are usually out.
Ease of use is what will keep desktops alive. Most easily portable devices, for example, are not easy to type on. The only notebooks that are easy to type on are models with 17" screens. Those are not really in the category of 'easily portable', since, unless they cost an arm and a leg, they're somewhat heavy.
Yes, it's possible to connect a notebook to an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor, but the easy way to do that is with a dock onto which you press your machine. Most notebooks do not have them; those that do are usually of some size. Connecting to externals is usually still possible, but more cumbersome, since you have to do it one or two devices at a time. Having to do this every time you leave and return usually means you either leave the notebook attached (thereby turning it into a desktop), or you don't bother with the externals any more, which means those purchases are wasted.
As for e-mail, well, we can't get social media at work. IM has never really caught on there. If you can't reach someone by phone, it's easier to send a somewhat more complicated e-mail than it is to leave voice mail.
You're assuming everyone lives in areas that have a cell signal. I have cable ISP and a network extender for my cell phone which allows me to receive a cell signal providing I have power and an internet connection. If I lose power and/or cable, I am dead in the water.
I had to have my landline turned back on because I run my business from home and with frequent power outages in winter, I need a reliable method of communication with my clients... which rules out two of the above... landline and email. If I didn't have my landline/broadband connection, my business would be in a bad spot.
I don't like working on laptops for 12+ hours a day. The limited angle of the monitor gives me a neck ache... but I see your point for most people's use.
I like my TV. I get 23 different channels "over the air" and they come in perfectly. Doesn't cost me a cent.
I still use email. Trying to save a message on a phone in a permanent fashion is not realistic to me. I want permanent proof of what I send and receive. Unless Microsoft and Yahoo go all to hell, my emails will always be there.
My desktop computer is better than any laptop or tiny 7" screened device that you can buy. I may not be able to take it with me everywhere I go, but it can do a heck of a lot more than the devices that were named in this article. When it dies, as it has in the past, it will be rebuilt to be even faster and better. Plus, my 23" monitor beats the hell out of that crap she is tossing our way.
And, if I could afford one, I would get a land-line phone back in my house. My phones NEVER went dead because of a power outage or bad weather. I rely on my $30 a month Straight Talk phone now.
I really strongly disagree on landline phones and desktop PCs. If you use a computer for anything other than work, you're far better off with a desktop PC. They're generally superior to laptops. Perhaps someday, when laptops can stand toe-to-toe with PCs in all categories, then the laptop can well and truly put the PC out to pasture, but that day is not yet here.
The landline versus wireless issue is a no-brainer, though. I personally find it incredibly stupid not to have a landline phone in your house. Yeah sure, it's cheaper to get your telephone service through your internet provider or what have you, but if your power goes out and you have an emergency, if your mobile can't get through to emergency services (assuming you have access to one), you're screwed. On the other hand, if you have a landline, even if your power goes out, you can still dial 911.
Oh and as a collector and hobbyist I'm not giving up my Edison cylinders and antique phonographs.
Televisions are great for movies--even streaming movies--as small screens are mostly good for people watching by themselves. DVDs are cheaper (if one waits a bit), more stable, and shareable. The same is true of CDs. Both can be borrowed from the library. Free television is also quite good--PBS is still extremely interesting. Desktops are far superior when it comes to speed and stability. Landlines are indispensible in areas where the weather is bad . . . I could go on. About the only thing that one doesn't really need--beside Weston's articles--would be cable television. It's very easy to replace that with other things that exist.
Yeah--go ahead and cut your landline. Then, have a ice storm with a major power outage. Your phone would work . . . if you had a landline. You could get emergency services . . . if you had a landline. Even old fashioned phones that one doesn't have to plug into an outlet are indispensible. Well, for those of us who don't live in urban areas, but live out in the sticks. Have a great day.
If today's "muscians" were actullay worth a dam and could put 10 to 12 good songs on a CD, then CDs would still be popluar, but at best they had 1 good song, so only buying that one was easier on line. Auto-tune is popluar because it covers up the "artist" can't sing.
After reading this article, the only thing that I don't need is poor advise from Liz.
1) Perhaps only 42% of people call TV a necessity because they recognize it is a luxury.
3) I need a DVD player for my library of hundreds of DVD's. Let me know when my DVD replacement isn't three times the price (Blu-Ray), and isn't dependent on my neighborhood's collective bandwidth usage (streaming).
5) Cable and Satellite TV are *not* replaced by their internet-constrained contemporaries.
6) Laptops are weaker, have smaller screens, and are more expensive than the desktops they could potentially replace.
7) You may be able to say you don't need *snail mail* any more, but until people can text 75 words per minute, form coherent thoughts, and edit those thoughts with their phones, of *course* you still need e-mail.
buff when they hit upon CD's= big + changes: better: flexibility, convenience, no mess w/computer, easy to convert older medias to it (as you like), still sounds great w/amp & big speakers. Oh yes,
cozying up with the wife to watch TV or flick just ain't the same in front of a laptop..
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters; click for restrictions. Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by SIX Telekurs.
Japanese stock price data provided by Nomura Research Institute Ltd.; quotes delayed 20 minutes. Canadian fund data provided by CANNEX Financial Exchanges Ltd.