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’01 Rear Projection Swings To Digital

The mix of rear projection television sales to consumers continued to swing decidedly toward digital television capable monitors in 2001, according to data released by NPD Techworld.

The market research firm, which charts sales of most of the nation’s leading consumer electronics retail stores, reported that sell-through numbers for DTV projection television reached approximately 688,200 units among those dealers reporting. That was up 132 percent from 296,600 a year ago and represents better than 75 percent of the total 916,100 DTV sets and monitors sold by those stores.

The DTV total included rear projection, CRT direct-view, front projection and a small amount of plasma displays and LCD panels, according to NPD senior analyst Tom Edwards.

At the same time, sales of NTSC-only rear projection televisions declined 26.5 percent to 572,000 units.

“The big story there is the shift toward digital,” Edwards observed. “Analog projection accounted for 72 percent of all projection TV sales last year. This year it’s 45 percent.”

Direct view CRT displays sold 221,200 units in 2001, up 197 percent from a year ago.

The 916,100 total DTV sales in the period were up 143 percent from 377,000 units sold to consumers a year ago.

Meanwhile, NPD said the share of widescreen 16:9 televisions continues to grow within the DTV mix. Of the 916,100 total DTV sales in 2001, 376,700 were widescreen. That was up 248 percent from 108,300 sales a year earlier, and reflected a growth rate more than twice that of 4:3 DTVs. DTV displays configured to the 4:3 aspect ratio sold 539,500 units to consumers in the period, up 101 percent from a year ago, NPD says.

Approximately 91.4 percent of rear projection DTV sales had widescreen aspect ratios in 2001, Edwards said.

NPD reporting members also indicated sales of 12.6 million analog TV sales in 2001, down 7.8 percent from 13.6 percent a year ago. Approximately 572,000 of those were rear projection TVs, a number that was down 26.5 percent from 778,100 a year earlier.

The biggest growth segment within the analog TV category was flat-tube CRT models, which sold 1.7 million units to consumers up 85 percent from 932,900 a year earlier. Curved tube analog CRT models sole 10.2 million units in 2001, down 13 percent from a year ago.