|Originally posted by zeitgeistdr
While I have my reservations about the supposed accuracy of the Neilsen ratings, it would be nice to have some data about HD viewing habits that was more accurate than anecdotes and two year old sales estimates. Everytime I hear that 300,000 number thrown around I feel like pulling my hair out - you know, everytime someone wants to show how little acceptance HDTV has or when they want to say that the transition is in trouble they always trot out "only 300,000 HDTV compatible sets have been sold". I've been hearing that number for close to three years now
Well anybody that says theres only been 300,000 HDTV compatible sets sold it dead wrong. The number is now over 3 million!
But, that in and of itself doesnt mean much. The number could be 50 million but if none of them had HD STB's (DBS/OTA or cable) connected you'd have zero viewers regardless.
Heres something from a CEA press release dated 9/05/02:
"The DTV transition, in terms of product sales, is progressing at an astounding pace," said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. "Compared to the same period last year, we have sold nearly double the DTV products in 2002. With more than 400 products on the market, consumers are embracing marketplace choice and the phenomenal benefits of high definition television. Consumer electronics manufacturers hope to soon see that consumer enthusiasm extended to the digital cable industry as well."
CEA also released stand-alone set-top box figures for the first seven months of the year, which totaled 44,291 units and $20,152,689. The average set-top box price was $455. Comparatively, set-top box unit sales during the same period in 2001 totaled 79,101 units.
"What we see in the set-top box market is sustained sales evidence that Americans are waiting for more compelling high-definition content," said Shapiro. "Additionally, consumers want to view that content in the same manner in which they are accustomed to viewing analog programming. For the majority of American consumers, that means through cable. We urgently need digital cable and DTV equipment compatibility to see this transition skyrocket."
As you can see by the middle paragraph, STB sales are actually down compared to last year. Now the good news is it's undoubtedly because cable tv has started rolling out HD in select markets. Also it's perhaps because STB's from some manufacturers have been in "short supply" for whatever reasons.
So even if we wanted to be real generous despite the low numbers for 2002, and allow for say 9000 STB's (and I think we're being generous enough there to allow for sets with built in tuners as well since not a large number of those have been sold over the years) per month on average to have been sold since say mid '99, you can see how the number of non-cable STB's (tuners if you will) in the field hovers around 400K. Course a number of people that have bought one STB, have bought more than one, but we wont worry about that.
So anyway, how many do you want to add to the 400K that as of today have a working cable tv HD box in their home? Tens of thousands, 100K.. 250K, another 400K? I dont know.