DEG: 52 mil HDTV homes in U.S. by '08


LAS VEGAS -- Armed with statistics that show steady growth for high-defintion products, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group is urging the industry to embrace the transition away from analog.

More than 30 million U.S. households have at least one HDTV, according to figures compiled by the trade group based on data from the Consumer Electronics Assn., retailers and manufacturers.

An estimated 4.5 million HDTVs were sold in the first half of 2007, 50% more than in the first six months of 2006. CEA projects that 16 million HDTVs will be sold by the end of this year, bringing the U.S. household total to more than 52 million. That could bring the household penetration rate to 36%, with about 20% of homes having more than one high-def set.

The DEG also found that high-definition media devices, including set-top box and game consoles, are available in some 10,000 North American storefronts. Nearly 2 million units have sold through to consumers.

DVD player sales were flat for the first half of the year at 14 million. Since the format's launch in spring 1997, consumers have purchased about 210 million players. About 90 million U.S. households have at least one DVD player, and the DEG estimates that 57% have more than one.

On the software side, more than 710 DVDs shipped to retail and rental in the first half of the year, according to figures compiled by Swicker & Associates on behalf of the DEG. Shipments were down 4% from the same period last year, though the DVD Release Report pegs the shortfall at a more dramatic 16.7%. Since launch, nearly 8 billion DVDs have shipped.

"As the trade association that represents manufacturers of both hardware and content, the DEG is dedicated to advancing the transition to a world of high definition," said Steve Nickerson, senior vp worldwide high definition at Warner Home Video and vice chair of the DEG communications committee. "We encourage the industry to take more aggressive action in the marketing and merchandising of high-definition products so that we can help consumers transition to a high-definition experience."
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