Sale of DTV sets increases by 45 per cent in the US

MUMBAI: Digital television (DTV) sales continue to rise in the US. This has been demonstrated by the latest factory-to-dealer sales released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

According to the CEA 3.8 million units have been shipped from January through June of 2005, bringing the total dollar sales to date to more than $4.6 billion. These sales figures mark a 45 percent increase in unit sales and a 23 per cent increase in dollar sales over the same period in 2004.

The average factory-to-dealer decrease in price has been a driver in the continued adoption of DTV sets. The price since January has dropped more than $200 bringing the average factory-to-dealer sales price to $1,159 per DTV set. As the sales prices continue to drop, every month in 2005 has seen an increase in sales over the previous month.

CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro says, "It is a great time to buy - the number of DTV products and the wide range of prices has created a truly competitive marketplace. There is increased competition among retailers, manufacturers and the technologies. More high-definition (HD) programming is announced each day and Congress continues to keep this issue a top priority. We are hopeful that a cut-off date will soon be established for analog broadcasting. To date, more than seven million devices are capable of receiving HD content.

"CEA continues to celebrate the successful transition to DTV. This year, it is predicted that consumers will buy more digital sets than analog. As consumers choose to go digital, 86 percent are choosing the best digital has to offer - HDTV. To date, seven million US households are capable of receiving HD programming via either over-the-air or cable. CEA has been a part of this transition since the first set was announced at the International CES and we look forward to continuing to take the necessary steps to ensure a rapid, consumer-friendly end to the DTV transition."

The rise in sales comes as the US Congress considers setting a cutoff date for traditional analog television signals and requiring television stations to air only digital. Lawmakers are considering late 2008 or early 2009 as the deadline.

Congress' investigative arm, the Government Accountability Office, estimates about 21 million homes rely solely on antennas to see television broadcasts and would have to get new television sets or converter boxes.

Lawmakers are pondering a subsidy to cover for some households the cost of a converter box, which would allow consumers to continue using existing television sets.

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