CEA Projects 1M Digital Cable Ready DTVs in Homes by Year's End

This summer, American consumers will be able to receive HDTV programming via cable without a set-top box on DTV units 36 inches and up; the Consumer Electronics Association predicts that by the end of the year, more than one million of these "Digital Cable Ready (DCR)" DTVs will have been sold.

Under terms of the cable-consumer electronics "plug-and-play" DCR agreement, ratified last fall by the FCC, CEA notified Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) that more than a half-million DCR HDTVs are expected to be on the market through Sept. 30, with more than a million HD sets and cable subscribers needing a CableCARD by the holiday season. A CableCARD is the security card required from the cable provider in order for consumers to view encrypted programming or premium services, and will be needed to support the rollout of dual ATSC-cable tuner integrated sets.

CEA's director of industry predicts "explosive growth," adding that "with July 1 signifying the start of the FCC's requirement for large-screen TVs with built-in off-air DTV tuners and the CableCARD implementation date, DTV manufacturers are working to provide American consumers with DTV products that suit their reception needs."

CEA has been preparing consumers for the introduction of DCR HDTVs since early this year, distributing print materials and an educational video.