CEA: DTV Q1 Sales Surpass 100 Percent Year-to-Year

Sales of digital sets to dealers grew by more than 100 percent during the first quarter of 2006, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The latest figures released last weekend by CEA at a meeting in Hilton Head, S.C., indicate the industry sold about 3.4 million DTV units to dealers during Q1, slightly more than double the Q1 stats of a year ago. (Most, but not all, "DTV units" are HD sets.)

CEA chief Gary Shapiro said the new DTV numbers represent $3.6 billion in sales. Unit sales of flat-panel displays (HD, ED and SD) also climbed dramatically during Q1, according to the CEA -- with a jump of 201 percent. (A recent CEA survey indicated nearly 50 percent of consumers polled said their next television purchase will likely be "some type of flat-panel technology.")

Shapiro said more than 35 million DTV units have now been sold since their market introduction in 1998 (albeit, presumably not all of them are still being used). Depending on what numbers you use, between 15-17 percent of all U.S. TV households currently have at least one HD set, although conventional wisdom says an unknown chunk of them are not actually receiving HD content via cable, DBS, or terrestrially.