DTV Sales Still Hopping

The Consumer Electronics Association announced last week that factory-to-dealer sales of digital television (DTV) display devices reached their second-highest total ever this February, surpassing 22,000 units. The CEA claims that February's sales total of 22,844 units is second only to the December 1999 figures, and brings total sales since the introduction of DTV (in August 1998) to 178,254 units.

In a press announcement, the CEA stated "February's robust sales represent a 578% increase over the February 1999 figure. In the first two months of 2000 alone, sales of DTV displays totaled 43,852 units. That figure is almost 5,500 units more than the total for the first eight months of 1999." The CEA projects that the first 10 million DTV units will be sold by 2003, the next 10 million in 2004 and 2005, and that 10.8 million will be sold in 2006.

The introduction of DTV has not been without problems (see previous article). The CEA's Gary Shapiro adds that "DTV is off to a strong start in 2000. Programming from the major networks has been helpful. But without more and better support from affiliates, DTV penetration will slow. The overall commitment by local broadcasters to provide high-definition–originated content has been lackluster at best. To put the DTV transition in the fast lane, broadcasters need to provide more substantial HDTV programming. If broadcasters will provide this type of commitment, we can reach or exceed 50% penetration by 2006."