Congressional testimony reveals market statistics

Testimony on Capitol Hill in late May on a staff draft proposal for bringing an end to the analog-to-digital transition brought to light many relevant statistics as various interested parties, including representatives from the broadcast, cable and consumer electronics communities made their cases.

Among the statistics were those presented by James Yager, CEO of Barrington Broadcasting, on behalf of the NAB:

  • Nearly 1500 local television stations are on-the-air in digital;
  • 21 million U.S. households rely exclusively upon over-the-air reception — of those many are among society's most economically vulnerable, including senior citizens, African Americans and Spanish-speaking households;
  • African American households are 22 percent more likely to rely exclusively on over-the-air reception;
  • 43 percent of Spanish-language households rely solely on over-the-air television;
  • 73 million sets, including second and third sets, nationwide could be made obsolete by an analog shut-off;
  • 540 local television stations are using DTV to multi-cast.

Those presented by Kyle McSlarrow, president and CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association:

  • 110 million television U.S. households
  • 15 percent (about 17 million) rely exclusively on analog, over-the-air broadcast
  • 134 million analog sets that can’t receive digital transmissions are in the homes of cable subscribers
  • Cable has spent $95 billion to replace coaxial cable with fiber and install new digital equipment in homes and system headends
  • 18 cable networks transmit much of their programming in HD

And those presented by Consumer Electronics Association president and CEO Gary Shapiro:

  • 2.3 million DTV products accounting for $2.95 billion were purchased in the first four months of 2005 — a 36 percent increase from the same period in 2004;
  • More than 17 million DTV products have been sold since Q4 1998;
  • To date, U.S. consumers have spent $25 billion on DTV products;
  • To date, HDTV displays and receivers represent 85 percent of DTV products sold
  • DTV prices are 75 percent lower than they were five years ago and decline about 15 percent each year;
  • 9 million integrated DTVs will be sold this year; 16.7 million in 2006; 27 million in 2007 and 33 million in 2008;
  • By 2009, 97 million DTV tuners will have been sold and over-the-air and tuners will be found in 86 percent of U.S. homes;
  • Analog set sales will decline 36 percent in 2006, and an additional 53 percent in 2007;
  • Of 110 U.S. homes with at least one TV, 68 percent receive a cable signal, 22 percent receive a DBS signal, and two percent receive both cable and DBS.
  • 87 percent of U.S. homes have access to cable or satellite;
  • If analog cut-off happened today, less than 13 percent of the 110 million TV households would not have access to a broadcast signal through cable or satellite.
  • Market research firm Sanford Bernstein has concluded that cable and satellite subscribers are growing 3.6 percent annually;
  • 52 percent choose not to subscribe to cable or satellite for a reason other than cost.

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