The Chinese government aims to sign up 10 mln digital CATV subscribers in 2004, and 30 mln in 2005. ABI Research has found that while digital programming is being broadcast in as many as 46 cities in China, by the end of 2003 the total number of digital television subscribers amounted to fewer than 200,000.
Strategy Analytics predicts that the number of US households owning some type of HD-capable hardware will rise from 8.7 mln in 2003 to more than 14 mln by the end of this year. Roughly half of these households will also receive HD programming from cable, satellite or terrestrial sources. By 2008, some 37 mln households will receive HD programming.
The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that about 10% of U.S. households – 11 mln in all – have digital TV sets. Last year, about 4 mln DTVs were sold, and the association expects Americans to purchase about 7 mln sets this year.
Some 2.3 mln digital projection TVs were shipped in the United States in 2003, and 2.6 million are expected this year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. That compares with 315,000 plasmas last year, and 515,000 seen in 2004, it said. It’s easy to understand consumer excitement about plasma. The gee-whiz technology based on supercharged gases made its debut only about 4 years ago, and combined with high-definition digital video, it produces images that appear real enough to touch. But at an average price in 2003 of $4,600 – enough for a Hawaiian vacation or a 1997 Toyota Camry – consumers often think twice. That second thought brings them to projection TVs, which also have high-resolution images, but at a more earthbound price of $1,400, on average.
Screen Digest estimates the penetration rate of digital TV in the UK grew from 26.23% of TV households in 2000 to 38.79% last year. Furthermore, the organization projects 43.22% of TV households in the UK will have digital TV by the end of 2004.
The FCC said the number of non-broadcast channels – such as HBO, CNN and ESPN – has grown from slightly more than 100 in 1994 to more than 330 in 2003. The FCC report found that cable, which had a near-monopoly 10 years ago on delivering programming to households willing to pay for it, now has 75% of the market. Satellite services have 22%. Other competitors, such as telephone companies or electric utilities, have the rest of the market. About 70.5 million households subscribe to cable; 23.7 million get satellite service. Even with the increased competition, cable rates have continued to rise faster than inflation. Congress deregulated the cable industry in 1996; over the next seven years rates increased by 53%, while inflation rose 19%.
Yankee Group study indicating that 50% of consumers postpone purchases thinking the products would be too difficult to use. The data also showed that 25% of consumers thought they already owned a high-definition television – the true number is less than half that.
Nearly one in three (30%) adults say the cell phone is the invention they most hate but cannot live without, according to the eighth annual Lemelson-MIT Invention Index study. The cell phone narrowly beat the alarm clock (25%) and television (23%) for the distinction in the survey, which gauges Americans? attitudes toward invention. Shaving razors, microwaves, coffee pots, computers and vacuum cleaners were also cited as essential, yet despised, inventions. While the Lemelson-MIT Invention Index found a vast majority of Americans (95%) believe inventions have improved the quality of life in the United States, their strong feelings toward cell phones illustrate both the benefits and unintended consequences of innovation.
A recent ruling by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), HDTV market developments in Europe and Japan, and the planned move by Motorola to outsource STBs (set-top boxes) from Asian suppliers, could all be blessings for Taiwan?s STB makers, according to sources. Local makers are expecting an increase in demand for digital terrestrial tuner modules after the FCC said it will start requiring TVs sold in the US market to have built-in HDTV receivers from 2005.
The number of TVs bundled with HDTV receivers in the US market is likely to swell to around 47 million units by 2007, the sources quoted FCC estimates as saying. Taiwanese makers will have an advantage over competitors with their expertise drawn from manufacturing HDTV receivers for LCD, plasma and projection TVs, according to the sources. In Europe, the number of families with digital TV receivers has reached 100,000, though the market is very much in a trial period. When digital TV officially kicks off in 2004, demand for HDTV STBs is expected to swell to 500,000 units, the sources said.
The number of televisions with screens 20” or larger exported from China to the United States has soared to an estimated 2 mil sets this year from less than 16,000 sets in 2000. According to industry experts, only about 1.5 mil of the 32 mil sets sold in the United States annually are made here; the rest come mainly from Mexico and Asia.