HD conference sees bright future

The CEA held its eighth annual HDTV summit last month at the Renaissance Washington hotel in Washington D.C.

The daylong event featured a presentation on the latest market research, and discussions about the public policy issues surrounding the HDTV transition. The Academy of Digital Television Pioneers Award was also presented.

"HDTV is inevitable and the marketplace is proving it," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CEA, in his opening remarks.

Shapiro said the most significant obstacles to the HDTV transition was behind broadcasters. Now broadcasters, he said, must get their DTV full power authorization up. Debates at the event covered a range of topics including:

  • Digital content development
  • Copyright protection
  • A national "plug-and-play" standard between cable systems and consumer electronics companies. This debate reflected a surge of momentum in the analog to digital transition and an enthusiasm among consumers, manufacturers and content providers alike for the speedy conclusion of the transition.

At the "HDTV: Beyond the Headlines" panel, content providers, cable providers, retailers and the media debated the current state of HDTV and the best path for its future. Repeated analogies to the black-and-white to color television transition were used during the discussion. At the "Industry Leader Super Panel," the heads of the major trade associations involved in the HDTV transition met for a discussion of the issues that have divided the cable, broadcasting, consumer electronics and motion picture industries in the quest for HDTV and what is being done to resolve them.

Government officials had their turn to discuss public policy issues surrounding the HDTV transition during the final panel, "HDTV -Insight from the Beltway." Rick Chessen, chairman of the FCC Digital Television Task Force and Associate Chief of the Media Bureau of the FCC; Johanna Mikes, legislative counsel to Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Jessica Wallace, counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, shared their thoughts on upcoming DTV legislation, the broadcast flag issue, protecting over-the-air digital content and the plug-and-play agreement.

Sean Wargo, director of market research at CEA, revealed that 81 percent of online TV viewers are familiar with HDTV and that 47 percent - an increase of 18 percentage points from 2002 - planned on purchasing an HD product in the next 18 months.

Visit www.CE.org/hdtvsummit or www.CE.org/dtvacademy for more.

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