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CEA: 'Unprecedented Shifts' in 2005

As the current year swiftly begins to wind down, HD Notebook asked Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, to offer his brief assessment of 2005:

"Two-thousand-five brought unprecedented shifts in the world of television. The CEA reports that not only is the overall DTV category skyrocketing, but figures show the world is going flat. Flat panels are on track for another great year. CEA Market Research projects that 4.3 million flat-panels units will be sold in 2005 compared to 2.7 million in 2004. And the average selling price of a plasma set is around $2,700, compared to $3,500 last year.

"The United States Congress finally addressed a hard cut-off date for analog broadcast. 2005 may soon be known as the year that 'DTV' starting to become known simply as 'TV"' to American consumers.

"The year also presented policy issues that matter, as we go down the digital road. Key among them was the historic Supreme Court case--Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. vs. Grokster Ltd. CEA was pleased that the Court left the Sony standard in place (that a product is legal if it has legal uses), but we are concerned that the Court created a new form of liability for intentionally inducing copyright violations.

"Other policy issues we will continue to face entering the New Year are TV recycling issues, energy efficiency and cable interoperability, as well as the cable industry's obligation to carry over-the-air DTV broadcast programming, a congressional mandate to have DTV tuners installed in all TV sets, and product labeling requirements."