I work for a larger servicer that does TV and appliances on site (and a million other things in shop) and I have been in the TV repair business for 18 years and still counting. The main thing that affected the TV business was units going to "board level" repair. This meant that instead of having to know how to troubleshoot electronic circuits to the component level, ie, bad transistor, capacitor, leaky diode, etc. You could get by by being a low paid parts changer. This is when the best buys and A&E's of the world began TV repair and rates began to fall. It wasn't that the parts became too expensive, but rather that boards became cheaper, causing many of those who have the skill to repair boards to exit the industry.
Also, TV's are now a technology driven product (like a laptop), whereas people used to expect to keep their TV for 20+ years of service, now want to stay current by buying new about every 5 years. That said, we still do a lot of TV work, but mostly warranty.
Appliances are a bit different, because although some companies want to try to attract customers with technology (look at Samsung's WIFI washer with LCD Display for an example), most people still are just looking for simple, reliable products that perform a given task, are easy to use, perform well, and look nice. Once they are happy with the above, they usually have no strong incentive to upgrade or buy new. A lot of things drive repair as an option, like having to deal with matching other appliances, hassle and cost of install, time invested in research and shopping and also risk of buying something that does not perform as well as what they had before.
The problem with GE is they want to price parts so high that they make the majority of any profit that exists in an appliance repair transaction. It can be tempting to lower the labor a bit when the parts are outrageously priced...just to keep the job. Isn't it?