Study shows solid home theater base in Western Europe; HD to propel expansion

A Nielsen Entertainment Research study commissioned by DTS has found a growing base of home theater and surround sound owners throughout the Western European marketplace. The study showed a broadening demographic base of surround sound owners and the impact of surround hardware ownership on DVD consumption habits.

The research focused primarily on the United Kingdom, France and Germany, which account for 67 percent of total Western European DVD spending levels. Fifty-six percent of consumer spending on audio hardware equipment is generated from these countries followed by Italy, Spain and Holland at a comparable 9 percent each.

The study found a third of Western European households have some configuration of a home theater system, which equates to more than 50 million households. In the United Kingdom, France and Germany combined, more than one-third of DVD households owned a home theater system at the end of 2004. Eighty percent of those home theater owners have 5.1 or greater surround sound with five or more speakers. At the end of 2005, more than 102 million Western European households were expected to own one or more DVD players.

These figures are reinforced by the marked increase in consumer spending, coupled with the availability of DVD titles, and a steady decline in software prices. By the end of 2004, Western Europe had spent almost $12 billion in DVD software sales alone, a 40 percent increase from the previous year.

In addition, with HD-ready displays in Europe forecast to rise over the next five years to slightly more than 30 million units, an upward swing in consumer adoption of home theater systems in Europe is anticipated.

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