DVD Drove Home Theater Sales In 3rd Quarter

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Continued strong demand for DVD players, and the growing market for big-tube color TVs and surround-sound electronics, produced solid growth for third-quarter sales of home theater audio/video products, according to figures issued by CEA.

For the quarter, the figures show, factory sales of home theater products rose 14.6 percent to $2.65 billion, with video gear up 14.4 percent to just less than $2.4 billion and audio equipment up 16.1 percent to $252 million.

For the year's first nine months, total equipment sales rose 9.6 percent from last year to $6.51 billion, as sales of video products increased by 10.4 percent to $5.91 billion, and audio sales edged up 2.2 percent to $600 million.

For the quarter, growth in video hardware sales was paced by DVD players, which generated revenue of $296 million, up 174.1 percent from the same period last year. Through the first nine months the value of DVD player sales more than tripled to $672 million.

As previously reported, CEA figures show DVD player unit sales climbed 289 percent in the third quarter and were up more than four-fold for the first nine months. That indicates the average factory value of a DVD player sold during the quarter was $149, down 61.5 percent from the $386 average in the same 1998 period, and for the nine months, the average value dropped 29.1 percent to $283 from $399.

The value of projection TVs sold in the quarter dipped 3 percent to $446 million, a reflection of the relatively stagnant 7.5 percent rise in unit sales caused by July-August product shortages.

Nine-month projection value was up just 2.1 percent to $1.09 billion, though unit sales for the period rose 12.1 percent.

As was the case with DVD players, the projection performance difference between units and value stemmed from average pricing declines. The figures indicate that for the quarter the average price was off 9.8 percent to $1,311 from $1,454, and for the full period it was down 8.9 percent to $1,345 from $1,477.

In audio, meanwhile, the total hardware market rose 16.1 percent for the quarter to $252 million. All of the increase came in the form of a 24 percent, or $26 million, jump for A/V receivers, which accounted for virtually all sales of electronics, and a 19 percent, or $12.5 million, rise for home-theater-in-a-box speaker systems to $78 million. That indicates sales of all other audio electronics and speakers for home theater fell 50 percent to just $48 million.

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