Ten Million DTVs by 2003?

Last week, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reported that in January 2000, for the fourth consecutive month, factory-to-dealer (not through to consumers) sales of digital television (DTV) products surpassed the 20,000-unit mark. The CEA's figures reveal that January's total of 21,008 units brings the total sales since the introduction of DTV in August 1998 to 155,410 units.

Putting the maximum positive spin on the new data, the CEA points out that the strong sales total in January represents a 475% increase over last January's figure. The CEA concludes that all indications point to further gains in 2000, as sales totals increased in each quarter of 1999, with fourth-quarter sales surpassing third-quarter sales by more than 150%. The CEA further projects that the first 10 million DTVs will be sold by 2003, the next 10 million in 2004 and 2005, and that 10.8 million will be sold in 2006 alone.

The CEA's Gary Shapiro states that "January's sales figures represent a tremendous beginning for DTV in 2000. These figures can only continue to grow as a result of the tremendous strides we have already made this year. Our successful resolution of the DTV broadcast-standard debate, as well as our recent agreement with the cable industry, which will enable consumers to receive DTV programming and services over cable systems, have paved the way for consumers to embrace DTV sooner rather than later."