Low Cost DTV Receivers Ignite DTV Sales in Australia

Free over-the-air terrestrial DTV has taken off in Australia after the cost of digital TV tuners dropped below $200. An article by John Davidson, Viewers rush to turn on digital TV in the Australian Financial Review said retailers are struggling to keep up with demand. An industry survey said 200,000 households are expected to have DTV by the end of the year and that figure would be higher if more set-top boxes were available. Based on a recent surge in demand for DTV tuners, Sony estimated 250,000 households would switch to DTV by the end of the year.

The article said prices could drop as low as $99 in 2004. Matthew Walker, an analyst with QFK Marketing was quoted saying digital TV now looked like "the next DVD," the fastest-selling consumer electronics item in history.

In Australia, DTV stations carry essentially the same content as analog TV, although with higher video and audio quality. Broadcasters are forbidden from offering multiple program streams.