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Antennas Direct Credits OTA HD broadcasts for Jump in Sales

Antennas Direct, a Eureka, Mo-based TV antenna retailer, this week reported sales of its new Terrestrial Digital brand of TV antennas increased by 220 percent in Q3 2007 compared with the same period a year ago, according to company president Richard Schneider.

Schneider noted that this increase occurred as several newspapers reported the cable industry lost over one million subscribers this year. “Two of the reasons suggested by most business reporters for the decline in cable numbers are TV subscribers switching to Satellite (DBS) and the emergence of telco TV,” he said. “While partially true, telco numbers are much too small to be a significant factor, but a meaningful percentage of these cable TV losses come from unhappy cable customers switching to OTA antennas and dumping cable’s hundreds of unwatched channels in favor of getting all their favorite local broadcasts FREE. Cable companies are stumping with penetration percentages hitting a 17-year low. A significant number of cable subscribers are finally getting enough of cable TV’s higher costs, billing add-ons, service outages, contact difficulties and aggravating half-day in-home service waits, resulting in lost customers, while our business is doubling about every 180 days.”

Antennas Direct says bandwidth limitations may prevent cable and satellite providers from carrying all local channel in many areas and notes DISH Network offers local HD coverage in about 47 percent of U.S. markets and DirecTV charges an additional monthly fee for local HD channel covering about 65 percent of the markets. “The answer is to add an OTA [over-the-air] antenna to other signal reception sources,” Schneider said.

“This not only gives a viewer the ability to receive all their local stations, but, with the right Terrestrial Digital antenna, some viewers may even be able to receive out-of-town channels, which may carry blacked out sports programs or network broadcasts not available in their home town,” Schneider continued. “For lower income families, an OTA antenna may be the only alternative. As an added benefit, an OTA antenna provides back-up reception options for local cable or satellite signal loss due to equipment failure or rain, snow and ice fade and to smaller TVs and second sets in homes not wired for whole-house signal distribution.”