DTV Sales Surge

Digital television is gathering serious momentum. A strong November for electronics retailers pushed the 2002 total over two million units.

"With another month remaining in the calendar year, we're already ecstatic about 2002 DTV sales," said Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) president and CEO Gary Shapiro. "The total for the year through November now stands at 2,179,114 units, representing more than $3.7 billion invested in the DTV transition over the past 11 months." The CEA defines DTV products as integrated sets and monitors displaying active vertical scanning lines of at least 480p (Enhanced Definition or DVD level of resolution) and, in the case of integrated sets, receiving and decoding ATSC terrestrial digital transmissions.

On December 19, the CEA announced that factory-to-dealer DTV sales in November reached 304,920 units, representing a monetary value of $513,648,019. November unit sales were up 56% over the same period in the previous year, or 48% monetarily.

"It's hard not to marvel at how far we've come in a short period of time," Shapiro observed, noting that the first DTV products debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 1998. "Month after month we see consumers choosing DTV for their home entertainment—high definition in particular—and over time we've seen progress in the many business and policy issues affecting the transition from analog to digital TV, such as digitally-originated content, broadcaster deadlines, cable carriage, and cable compatibility. What too often has been referred to as an uphill battle now easily could be characterized as a downhill battle, especially considering the cable-DTV agreement announced today." That agreement insures cross-industry standards for interconnectivity and interoperability, so that new DTV products will work seamlessly with any cable system.

The December-January holiday buying season will put the format in more homes than ever. The week before the Super Bowl is typically the busiest television-buying time of the year. The CEA projects 2.5 million DTV units will be sold in 2002, 4 million in 2003, 5.4 million in 2004, 8 million in 2005, and 10.5 million in 2006.