Converter box comments shed light on HD growth, home viewers

In response to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's call for public comment on setting up a coupon program to subsidize the purchase of digital-to-analog converter boxes last week, both the NAB and the Consumer Electronics Association released some market data that sheds light on where television stands in the United States.

Regarding the DTV market, the CEA statement revealed:

  • U.S. consumers are forecast to purchase 18 million DTV sets and displays in 2006 — a 50 percent increase over the figure for 2005.
  • 2006 will be the first year HDTV sets outsell NTSC sets.
  • HDTV sets are projected to outsell analog sets by 89 percent this year.
  • HDTV sets sales are projected to hit 15.9 million this year.
  • HDTV set sales will account for more than $23 billion in total DTV revenue this year.

The NAB comments on the matter pointed out:

  • Congress allocated up to $1.5 billion for the converter box program. (That amount would pay for about 37 million converter boxes.)
  • The GAO says there are 73 million "broadcast-only" TV sets in use in the United States (of which 45 million are exclusively in "broadcast-only" homes and 28 million TVs are in homes that have at least one television that receives cable or satellite services).

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