2008: A Very Good Year

Business is bad. The market is tanking. Instead of retiring at age 65, you’ll have to work until 95. But at least more and more of us can watch Knight Rider in high-def. That’s what market researchers at iSuppli are saying (the high-def part).

In particular, shipments of HDTVs have surpassed shipments of SDTVs this year. Even given the sorry state of our credit cards, not surprisingly, they don’t see the trend reversing. So, it looks like SDTV is a goner, with HDTV taking over the market.

iSuppli is predicting that HDTV will have an annual compound growth rate of 20% through 2012, when 241 million sets will ship (compared to 97 million last year). In contrast, SDTV shipments will decline at a rate of 27% from 115 million units last year, to 23 million in 2012. In fact, the crossover point is happening right now. In 2008, 124 million HDTVs will ship, compared to 87 million SDTVs. So, 2008 will be a very good year, at least for HDTVs.

That’s not too surprising. Prices of HDTVs will continue to decline and probably eventually they’ll be as cheap as SDTVs. The same thing happened when color TVs made black and white TVs obsolete. The big factor was content. As more and more TV programs began broadcasting in color, that stimulated sales of color TVs. Same thing now. The cost of producing content in HD is only narrowly more expensive than SD, so the amount of HD content is growing fast. That will stimulate sales of HDTVs.

So, write it down, and check it again in 2012. HDTV is the future. And that’s a future you can count on. Unlike your 401(k). Ken C. Pohlmann

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