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DTV Transition Could Cause Spike in OTA HD

Harris study finds DTV transition could lead to surge in antenna sales for CE pros.


Tom LeBlanc · June 11, 2009

Most consumers are revved up about the June 12 DTV transition, seeing it as an opportunity to get rid of cable or satellite TV service, according to a report by Harris Corporation.

The report found that 55 percent of those surveyed are “somewhat or very likely to switch to antennas to receive free, over-the-air (OTA) high-definition TV signals, versus subscribing to cable or satellite subscriptions.”

That figure seems rather high, considering that switching to OTA from cable or satellite would likely mean reducing their access to channels. However, it may reflect migration toward consumers relying on the Internet more than TV for video content.

Also, the report’s finding that 69 percent of consumers feel the DTV transition will be good for them reflects a changing attitude. Consumers under 24, according to Harris, are most likely to consider switching from cable or satellite.

Much of the consumer feedback about the transition has been about confusion. A recent Nielsen report suggests that 2.8 million homes remain unprepared for the digital switch. 

An obvious perk for CE pros could be increased HD antenna sales. Zip Express, with its national network of independent installation contractors, has sold more than 1,000 antenna systems leading up to the transition.

The following data from Harris suggests CE pro clients might be ripe for antenna installs:

  • 4.4 million TV antennas were sold in the U.S. in 2008, up 48 percent from the previous year
  • Antennas Direct, a provider of TV antennas for consumers, recently reported a 224 percent jump in sales for the first quarter of 2009
  • The number of people signing up for cable or satellite TV grew at its lowest rate ever, less than one percent, in the fourth quarter of 2008
  • Of surveyed consumers earning $75,000 or more per year, 57 percent say they are very likely or somewhat likely to cancel their cable or satellite service and only watch OTA broadcasts

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Source: Harris Corporation



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  About the Author

Tom has been covering consumer electronics for six years. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Now, as senior writer/technology editor of CE Pro magazine since 2003, he dabbles in all departments and offers expertise in marketing. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Tom at tom.leblanc@emeraldexpo.com

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