Thanks for the reference. It's great to read that article. The acceptance of widescreen DTVs is clearly a snowball rolling down the hill. I only hope that the sale numbers of 8VSB STBs have also ramped up. Let's all hope.
There are four major reasons why 8VSB STBs lag behind in sales.
1. The average price is about $700.00
2. They Lack of availability to STB in stores.
3. They are not being promoted. Even when a store has a sales add for a HD ready TV. They either omit any mention of DTV STB needed or it is mention in very small print.
4. The general public feels that with the very limited amount of HD programs, the STB is not worth the extra few hundred bucks. They simply settle for the HD display unit for viewing DVD's.
5. Most people are unaware that any SDTV or HD is even being broadcasted in their area. This is due to non of analog stations ever bother to mention that the signal is being simulcast on a digital station.
We already spent several million dollars (dollars that COULD have gone to other things we would see a quicker return on) just getting digital on the air. We justified a fairly extensive conversion of the studio facilities as well, by retiring older analog equipment, and figuring savings on maintenance costs. This has given us a better quality signal on both the analog AND digital stations, so the $$$Guys are happy with that....but, it is hard to justify things like HD programming, when it won't be seen outside of a few (dozen?), few (hundred?) homes. It will take some REAL numbers, not just hopeful guesstimates, to convince advertisers to part with hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for HD programming on any kind of regular basis.
In RP sales HDTV sets are displacing NTSC sets from the showroom. May analog projection set sales were 51,162. Using the March CEA figure that projection sets were 77% of total sales that means about 84,280 * .77 = 64,840 DTV projection sets were sold during May.
The best hope for STB sales figures is when Mark Schubin gets back in July. He got quarterly figures in November and February, so maybe he can get them for May. To me the CEA not reporting STB sales means they must have declined from the approximately 36,000 in the first quarter.
Alan, while I realize how difficult it is to get accurate data and I appreciate the work you have done to accumulate this, I think the accuracy of many of your stats are still in question. For example, you are mostly dealing with sales to dealers, but your formula for computing March 2001 STB sales based on the "15 STBs sold for every 100 displays" may have meant STB sales to consumers or in other ways may not be correct. My guess is first quarter STB sales were larger since many new STBs were just coming available and were filling the retail pipeline. Also, (as you point out) the Display sales numbers don't add up from this May to what you had for last May.
Further, I think your point that DTV sales are flat doesn't consider that this is the slowest time of year for consumer electronics products. If you consider seasonably adjusted numbers, sales are continuing to grow.
Again, I realize the problem is poor CEA reporting and way too much "spin" in their numbers, but we need to be careful writing these as facts.
Man, I can remember a time when this type of thread would have drawn Robmx and Bob Utne like ants to a picnic!! The sales figures would have been dismissed, Rich's integrity would have been questioned, and his mother's virtue called into doubt. Sure is quite around the old Forum these days. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif
The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.
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