Study: Rosy Future for DTVs
Released Monday, April 12, the study predicts that more than 93 million DTV sets will ship from factories to dealers in 2008, more than five times this year's level of approximately 17 million units.
Important factors in the growth of the DTV market include rapid adaptation of digital broadcasting technology in Europe, Japan and North America, and the phase-out of direct-view cathode ray tubes in favor of flat-panel products and micro-display based rear-projection sets. Many new DTVs are equipped with digital tuners for the new format, as well as analog tuners for NTSC "legacy" broadcasts.
In addition to offering better pictures, digital TVs offer more functional options and better connectivity than analog sets. New DTVs have 1394, DVI and/or HDMI ports, for example, plus card slots for viewing still photos taken with digital cameras. High-speed connections mean that new sets can be integrated into home networks or connected to the Internet - functions that even the best TVs didn't offer a few years ago.
In the US, the DTV market is also getting a boost from a mandate by the Federal Communications Commission to change the broadcasting system from analog to digital. Wireless communications companies are clamoring for the bandwidth now held by analog television broadcasters. That bandwidth is slated for return to Federal ownership for auction once the transition to digital is complete - either by December 31, 2006, or when 85% of US viewers can receive digital signals.
Digital television is already a common buzzword, even among consumers who haven't made the leap. Other studies have demonstrated that DTVs are high on most "want lists," the only obstacle being price. And prices, of course, continue to drop as supplies improve. "Eventually, consumer demand will be great enough that manufacturers will stop making analog-only TV sets," the In-Stat/MDR study's authors note.