Rachel Rosmarin writes: "George W. Bush may be grappling with low approval ratings, but at least one constituency must be pleased with the president right now: The consumer electronics business, which just received a government mandate that forces consumers to spend billions to replace or upgrade their television sets within three years. ¶ Tucked away in the "Deficit Reduction Act of 2005" Bush signed this month is a provision requiring television broadcasters to switch their signals from analog to digital by Feb. 19, 2009. The intent is to free up valuable bandwidth that the federal government can sell, presumably to help whittle down the budget deficit. But it will also require much of the country to spend billions in order to watch television: Forbes estimates that the digital switchover will help the electronics business move $75 billion worth of product in the next three years. ¶ [see N.B. below] Right now only about 20% of Americans are capable of receiving a digital signal through a digital tuner built into the television set itself, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. ..." Link: Forbes.
N.B.: That last sentence is
wrong by an order of magnitude or more, a misinterpretation of CEA data. Someone help me, please, with the actual number I asked Mark Schubin, the person I look to for straight numbers on such things. In an email reply (thanks), he noted that "CEA cited penetration of 20% of U.S. households as of January 1 for what CEA calls 'DTV.' What CEA calls 'DTV' can be something with DTT reception or anything that can display at least 480p." He went on to say that his source at CEA says that "their estimate of actual DTT reception circuitry in the field is 8%." That's 18 months into the tuner mandate. Finally, Mark notes, "The tuner mandate means people have the circuitry, whether they know it or not." So I was wrong about it being an order of magnitude less, at least nominally. -- Dennis