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NAB’s Wharton Refutes CEA Claim of Declining Off-Air TV Viewing

Last week I reported on a study released by the Consumer Electronics Association that indicated only seven percent of American TV households were relying solely on an antenna for TV program reception.

Dennis Wharton, the NAB’s executive vice president, offered a different view: responded, “CEA's findings strain the bounds of credibility, beginning with the fact that its alleged 'research' was conducted by CEA staff members rather than an independent firm. Contrast that with the recent independent study by GfK, a world-recognized consumer research firm that found that 19.3 percent of homes rely exclusively on over-the-air television. Moreover, CEA surveyed barely 1,000 people, compared to the more than 3,000 homes that participated in the GfK study. We're confident that GfK's research is far more credible than that of a trade association with a track record of anti-broadcasting bias."

The GfK study found the estimated number of Americans relying exclusively on off-air TV broadcasting increased to 59.7 million, up from 54 million a year earlier.

The GfK study reflects what I've noticed in tracking announcements of new products for off-air TV reception, including antennas and accessories for devices such as the Boxee and Roku IPTV boxes. Increased interest in these products belies CEA's claim that consumer use of off-air television is dropping.

New product and service announcements from Mohu are one example of this. After releasing a new line of indoor and outdoor antennas, Mohu recently launched a new website to help consumers see what channels they might be able to receive on their different antennas. See my review of the site later in this week's RF Report.