CEA Crows Over DTV Ownership Threshold

The Consumer Electronics Association said that half of the households in the United States have a digital television set, which means half of them still don�t.

The threshold is still a milestone, considering the TVs just hit the market about five years ago. CEA chief Gary Shapiro said 32 million DTV �units� were expected to ship in the coming year, and 79 percent of those will be hi-def.

New CEA sales projections anticipate that TV manufacturers will post 11 percent revenue growth, to more than $25 billion, from sales of digital televisions in 2007. CEA also forecasts 13 percent revenue and 17 percent unit sales growth for digital television in 2008.

The CEA unveiled its numbers in anticipation of its staggeringly large trade show in Las Vegas beginning Jan. 7. The Consumer Electronics Show covers 1.8 million square feet with consumer technology doodads of all sorts, including ever huger hi-def plasma sets. Last year, a 103-inch Panasonic took the award for the biggest set on the market.

The show features 2,700 exhibitors and several concurrent sessions, including Shapiro�s annual one-on-one with the FCC chairman. This year�s chat with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 10:30 a.m. The two are expected to �discuss their thoughts on the digital television transition, cable compatibility, spectrum allocation and other issues critical to the consumer electronics industry,� according to the CEA.