All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go?
The CEA's Gary Shapiro states that "these numbers demonstrate that, despite limited broadcast programming and some who advocate delays in the broadcast community, consumers are buying DTV. Non-broadcast digital and high-definition content is available to consumers via satellite and, in some markets, via cable. And many consumers are simply opting to buy DTV and HDTV displays now to enhance their analog TV and DVD experience."
Interestingly, the figures reveal that, to date, the majority of DTV factory sales have been DTV and HDTV displays that require the addition of a set-top box to receive digital broadcasts. In 1999, 17% of the total DTV products sold (including monitors, integrated sets, and digital set-top receivers) were capable of receiving digital broadcasts. The CEA expects this trend to continue as long as some broadcasters question the DTV standard or insist on using DTV primarily as a subscription data service.
Shapiro warns that broadcasters need to keep the ball rolling, stating that "even as consumers enjoy non-broadcast digital and high-definition content from a variety of sources, some vocal broadcasters are dragging their feet, confusing consumers, and stalling the broadcast transition to DTV. Broadcasters made a commitment to deliver DTV in return for the loan of valuable public spectrum. Further delays are a denial of the public trust. Lingering debates over the digital broadcast standard and efforts to accommodate new broadcast business models cannot be allowed to trump consumer interest in DTV."