Worldwide Over-the-Air DTV Reliance Stands at 50 Million

Freeview comprises a big chunk of the pie
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AUSTIN, TEXAS: More than 50 million households around the world rely primarily on over-the-air digital TV, according to research concern DisplaySearch. DS said that another 10 million more U.S. households will make the transition to DTV as the nation’s broadcasters shut down analog signals by June.

“To date, six countries have already switched off their analog broadcasting and nearly the entire world is expected to have completed analog switch-off by the end of 2015,” said Paul Gray, director of Europe TV research for DS. “The analog switch-off is now hitting center stage with the transition in the United States, and will dramatically shape the TV value chain in the same way that color did in the 1960s and 1970s.”

Gray said the future would hold “further refreshes” of DTV broadcasting, though he didn’t specify what that might entail. Mobile DTV perhaps.

DS, a relatively small group of 59 people with a comparatively large footprint across Europe, North America and Asia, said it found broadcast DTV projects ongoing in 53 countries, with the majority “already transmitting commercial services.”

Europe’s DVB-T took the top spot for transmission standards, delivering the primary signal to upwards of 47 million households. The European DTV transition was packaged similarly to multichannel pay systems here, under the Freeview brand. Freeview is transmitted via DVB-T and available via set-top box, tuner-ready TV set or enable PC. There are no subscriber fees.

Of 60 million TV sets in the United Kingdom, the regulator Ofcam estimates that more than 42 percent use Freeview.

DS found about 2.5 million U.S. TV households using the nation’s ATSC terrestrial standard for their primary TV source (including yours truly). Nielsen estimates the total U.S. TV universe to comprise around 114 million households. ­­– Deborah D. McAdams