US Viewers Embrace Digital TV Sets

08 January 2008

WASHINGTON DC: Just a year before the US pulls the plug on its analogue television signal comes news that over half the nation's homes now have digitally-enabled TV sets, most of which also show HD content.

The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that US digital TV sales grew 11% last year, exceeding $25 billion (€17bn; £12.6bn), and will increase by a further 17% to 32 million in terms of 2008 unit sales.

Demand has been partly driven by prices, which have fallen by around 40% for 40-inch and larger HDTVs during 2007. Market researcher iSuppli expects them to drop still further this year - between 25% and 30%.

Manufacturers are hoping the lure of vividly sharp images on big screens will hasten digital changes - despite little availability of real HD content.

But some consumers are still wary of commitment while technology is being fine-tuned and the tussle between Sony's Blu Ray format and HD DVDs has still to be settled.

Visitors to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas are being wooed (and wowed) by TV manufacturers 'next big things'. For example, ultra-thin sets, internet-enabled TVs and those that produce 3D-style images.

LCD flat panel sets are taking market share from their plasma competition, claims iSuppli, which estimates around 99m LCD TVs will be sold worldwide in 2008, a figure forecast to rise to 165m by 2011.

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff