According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 2004 sales of DTV products are substantially above expectations. Factory-to-dealer sales of DTV products for October totaled 968,394 units, with a dollar value of more than $1.29 billion-- a 136 percent increase in unit sales-- and a 102 percent increase in dollar sales over October 2003 figures. The CEA defines a DTV unit as an integrated television receiver or a monitor that can display at least the 480p scanning format, and, in the case of a receiver, has the capability to receive and decode ATSC terrestrial digital broadcasts.
CEA further stated that year-to-date DTV sales stand at 5.4 million, and that total 2004 sales are expected to meet the initial forecast of 6.9 million units. Cumulative DTV unit sales now total over 14 million units, with a dollar amount of nearly $23 billion.
A strong driver of DTV sales is the appeal of flat-panel displays to consumers. The emergence of flat-panel and advanced projection displays has become a real consumer electronics phenomenon. In the flat-panel world, liquid crystal displays (LCD) and plasma display panels (PDP) are available to the consumer. There are a number of projection technologies available, the hottest tickets being microdisplay-based rear-projection technologies including DLP and LCD. These displays are particularly attractive to consumers because, owing to sophisticated optical systems, they can be fabricated to be little deeper than flat-panel displays. All these flat and near-flat advanced display technologies facilitate the use of much larger screens, even in rooms of relatively modest size. Large screen displays exhibit HDTV at its best. This is good news for all but the manufacturers of cathode ray tubes.
Consumer hardware sales, plus the proliferation of HDTV programming on broadcast and cable, are strong testament that HDTV is here it stay. In its early days, many wondered if HDTV had a future, but that is certainly no longer in doubt.
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