Every type of tech product has gotten cheaper over the last two decades — except for one

Technological innovation is great for consumers. As technology gets more advanced, prices drop and products get better.

The U.S. Bureau of Labour statistics tracks prices for broad categories of goods over time. As this chart of prices for the last 18 years shows, prices have dropped dramatically in almost every single tech sector. The drop in computer hardware is particularly steep.

The one exception? Cable and satellite TV and radio service. Lack of competition might be a factor — in a lot of markets, users can choose between their local cable provider, one or two local phone providers, and maybe a single satellite TV provider. There’s also been a relentless drop in the price of components used in most electronics gear, thanks to things like Moore’s Law (which says the number of transistors you can fit on a chip will double every 18 months) and manufacturing advances. That isn’t the case for the infrastructure used to deliver services like TV.