Americans Renew Love Affair with TV as Digital Mandate Looms

January 7, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Retail & E-Commerce | Technology | Television

As the digital TV mandate begins to loom on the horizon, US consumer interest in flat panel televisions has exploded, while the demand for bulkier TV technologies such as rear projection and CRT continues to shrink, according to a new report.

Some 77% of Americans surveyed said they are familiar or very familiar with the mandated switchover to digital TV in 2009, according to the survey from  marketing-intelligence and advisory-services provider IDC:

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For the foreseeable future, the retail and consumer living room landscape will consist primarily of LCD and plasma technologies, IDC said. More than 60% of survey respondents indicated that, regardless of price, either plasma or LCD was the best technology for screens of 42 inches or larger.

“Half of our respondents want to experience this newfangled technology called ‘HD’ and they’re willing to replace their CRTs in droves to do so,” said Eric Haruki, research director, TV Markets & Technologies.

“More than 35% of respondents want to upgrade their existing TV size – again very likely tied to upgrading from smaller CRTs – while 30% now believe that the time and price is right to make the jump.”

Interestingly, where they plan to make their purchases is apparently in flux, with something of a transition from big box consumer electronics retailers (such as Best Buy) to warehouse chains (such as Costco):

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Among the other highlights of the survey:

  • For future TV purchases, LCD technology is heavily preferred over Plasma by the respondent base, 73% to 20% – up significantly from 2006:

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  • A full one-third of the respondents plan to buy a 40-49 inch TV for their next set, indicating continued interest in larger TV sizes.
  • Consumers would rather buy a smaller 1080p TV rather than a larger 720p TV at the same price.

Another factor driving the adoption of flat-panel TVs is the additive TV market, with people installing TVs in places they might not have considered before. As it is, Americans are amenable to multiple TV ownership; the vast majority of TV owners have more than one:

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The slim form factor of flat panel TVs permits wall-mounting possibilities in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, garage – almost anywhere that a power outlet and a video signal can be accessed, IDC said.

About the study: The IDC study, IDC’s 2007 Consumer TV Survey, Part 1: Demographics and Current TV Preferences (Doc #209546), is the first of two TV survey studies conducted by IDC. Part 1 offers insight into current US TV ownership, with data split by a number of respondent demographics (age, household income level, and gender). It also provides a variety of cross-tab analyses – whether a particular income group favored a certain TV type, where consumers, in different geographic segments, shopped for their TVs and why.

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