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50 Million-Plus HHs Use Digital OTA as Primary Source

More than 50 million households worldwide are currently using DTV services on a terrestrial basis as their primary source of TV, according to DisplaySearch, an Austin, Texas-based display research firm. The company also notes that at least 10 million OTA-only homes in the United States will transition to digital in 2009 as a result of the extended June 12 cutoff.

The vast majority of DTV/HD households globally receive their primary services from DBS and cable. DisplaySearch said at least six countries (the United States would have been No. 7 if it had not extended the deadline again) have already switched off their respective analog systems. In all, more than 50 nations are at various stages of a digital transition, with virtually all of them planning to complete their change by 2015.

The ATSC standard used in the United States and a few other countries is very much on the low end of systems deployed on a global basis. According to DisplaySearch, “DVB-T is by far the most popular standard—with an estimated 47 million households using it as their main source of entertainment.” DVB-T services homes in Europe, Saudi Arabia, Africa, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

DisplaySearch found about 2.5 million American homes are now taking advantage of the ATSC terrestrial standard as their primary television source. Nielsen says there are about 114 million TV households in America.

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