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2003 DTV Sales Top 1 Million Mark

May factory sales of digital TV products helped push cumulative unit sales for the year past the one million-unit mark, according to recent CEA sales figures.

During May, factory-to-dealer sales of DTV products rose 62 percent over May 2002 sales to 239,895 units with dollar volume rising 35 percent to $329.4 million.

Unit sales for the year now total 1,073,503, representing a 59 percent increase compared with the same period in 2002, the CEA said. Year-to-date wholesale dollar volume reached $1.6 billion — an increase of 34 percent compared with last year.

“Considering that the first million DTV units to be sold in the transition occurred over a two-year period — from 1999 to 2001 — these 2003 figures represent outstanding progress,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA president. “In 2002 — the most successful year for both DTV unit and dollar sales since their market debut — factory-to-dealer sales of DTV products did not breach the 1 million-unit mark until July. Now, we’ve bested that by two months and are confident sales figures will reach and perhaps surpass CEA’s projected 4 million units sold by year-end.”

In announcing the figures, Shapiro urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help maintain the progress by approving the cable-consumer electronics industry Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached last December on DTV cable-ready, or “plug-and-play” products.

“As impressive as these sales are,” said Shapiro, “one can only imagine how the figures will skyrocket once the FCC approves the CE/ cable plug-and-play agreement. Plug-and- play cable compatibility is the last major obstacle to mass-market status for HDTV. It is imperative that the FCC act on the agreement as soon as possible.”

From product introduction to date, DTV product sales total 5,851,621 units, with a consumer dollar investment of some $10.3 billion. CEA projects 4 million units will be sold in 2003, 5.4 million in 2004, 8 million in 2005 and 10.5 million in 2006. CEA defines DTV products as integrated sets and monitors displaying active vertical scanning lines of at least 480p and, in the case of integrated sets, receiving and decoding ATSC terrestrial digital transmissions.