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Only 12 Percent of TV Sets Used To Receive Over-the-Air Programming

Discussion in 'Local Reception' started by Chris Blount, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. Jun 9, 2005 #1 of 17
    Chris Blount

    Chris Blount Creator of DBSTalk Staff Member Administrator DBSTalk Gold Club

    Jun 22, 2001
    Arlington, Virginia, 6/8/2005

    Only 33.6 million (12 percent) of the 285 million television sets in use in the United States are used to view over-the-air television (OTA) programming, according to new data released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The study also found that approximately ten percent of all TVs in U.S. households are used exclusively for an activity other than viewing broadcast television programming (such as viewing DVDs, playing videogames, etc.). Further, more than a quarter of households that rely only on OTA broadcasts to receive television programming have at least one TV in the home used exclusively for an activity other than viewing broadcast television.

    Full Story
  2. Jun 9, 2005 #2 of 17

    MikeW Hall Of Fame

    May 16, 2002
    ONLY 33.6 million? Wish I had only 33.6 million in my savings account.
  3. Jun 9, 2005 #3 of 17

    Hound Icon

    Mar 20, 2005
    Most people do not realize that with digital OTA, you do not need to have cable or satellite
    to get a perfect crystal clear television picture. There has been no advertising of digital OTA.
    Once American TV owners wake up to digital OTA, probably something like 1/3 of households will no longer require cable or satellite. Digital OTA also gives crystal clear high definition and
    superior 5.1 digital sound. It is far superior to cable and better than satellite. Cable and
    satellite will compete with digital OTA by offering content not available on OTA. For example,
    CNN, Disney, HBO, and sports, etc. For example, with Monday night football going to ESPN in 2006, football fans now have to have cable or satellite to see all the games. Professional baseball, basketball and ice hockey (if there is a season) have more than 1/2 the games on non-OTA broadcasts. However, there are many many households, who would be satisfied, just getting ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, WB and UPN for free. The current world is a digital wireless world. As households upgrade to digital capable HDTV sets, many households will drop their cable or satellite service, once they realize that digital OTA is available. Here in the Philadelphia area, there are 23 digital OTA stations available (including substations). All of the big seven networks are broadcasting HDTV programs and sports on OTA. You no longer have to go to the Weather channel on cable or satellite. You can just check the NBC OTA weather channel. I look at it every day. When the first two rounds of the Masters Golf Tournament were broadcast standard definition on the USA cable or satellite channel, I was watching in high definition on the Philadelphia CBS OTA channel.

    The purpose of the CEA report was to justify that less than 15 percent of households are receiving analog OTA signals, so that the conversion to full digital OTA, with the elimination of analog OTA can go forward. The CEA survey is probably accurate that less than 15 percent of households today rely on analog OTA. Twenty years ago, I used to rely on analog OTA. Then cable TV became available in my neighborhood. I thought cable TV was the
    greatest thing since sliced bread. Two years ago (2003) after prodding from my children, who told me about neighbors (who have Directv) who had all these channels and great reception, I got Dish network.

    I now realize that satellite (which is part of today's digital wireless world) is superior to
    cable. Cable is only going to compete with satellite through content. For example, Comcast
    owns Philadelphia sports programming which is not available on satellite.

    In 2004, I went out and purchased a very expensive plasma HDTV. I wanted to try HDTV out. So, I tried my cable company's HD feed (Patriot Media) and I called Dish Network about getting HDTV. Patriot installed the HD receiver right away. Dish told me that there was about a four month wait for a reveiver, but it finally came (August 2004). I was disappointed that there were so few HD channels available. Patriot Media was offering New York, CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX. But the cable feed was very bad and still is. The picture constantly pictualizes and sometimes it goes down completely. Dish did not have any locals except NY CBS. In February 2005, I called Dish to inquire about HD DVR and the rep sold me on a 921 (never told me that they had a 942). He then informed me that I could get an OTA antenna and get all my locals in high definition. He also said that if I sign up for Dish locals and pay a $5 fee per month, I could get guide information for my OTA locals. (just think if DISH could get 100,000 customers to sign up for OTA channel guide; $500,000 a month directly to the bottom line for just a software change blocking PSIP and having OTA channel guide mirror the DISH local channel guide!!! pretty clever way to prop the bottom line up; however OTA guide does not work for all 921 owners; I do not get any OTA guide despite my $5 per month; better get it right in the 214 update) So I bought the 921, and a Terk antenna to put around my DISH from Radio Shack. I tried to scan in my digital locals, but the 921 did not read any signals. Then I went into the yellow pages, found one antenna installer and called him. He recommended that I get a Winegard 9095 antenna with a pre-amp. The antenna
    was installed, the 921 found 23 digital Philadelphia stations, and now 75 percent of
    my TV viewing is digital OTA. That is how I discovered digital OTA.

    Since then, I wrote a letter to the chairman of our municipal television committee that regulates cable TV in our town. Neither he nor any of the members on the commission had any idea that digital OTA existed. He was amazed that you could get crystal clear HDTV pictures with just the use of a rooftop antenna and not a cable or satellite service.

    By the way, I live in Princeton, NJ where Opinion Research is located. Opinion Research
    did the CEA survey that was submitted to the House and Senate Commerce Committees.
  4. Jun 9, 2005 #4 of 17

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    Many subscribe to cable and satellite because they want access to programming that isn't available OTA.
    Very few markets that offer any of the non-network digital content.
    This depends on local broadcasters; some of whom still don't offer digital yet. Of the ten or so broadcasters in my area only six provide full digital programming and the PBS channel (KOPB; perhaps PBS's flagship digital station) is the only one that is 24/7. Digital sound only seems to happen on two of the channels.
    And this is why what you suggest is not reasonable.
    The number doesn't mean squat in the face of the percentage of market share. If there are many many OTA happy households, there are many times more that require more.
    This is wild supposition. There is absolutely no indication that the content people want to see is going to find its way onto broadcast stations.
    As I'm sure you're aware, the Philly market is one of the larger. Other markets aren't so fortunate.
    There are a handfull of interesting events that appear on OTA and a small subset of those are in HD. The Indy 500 was broadcast in digital, but it wasn't HD. Had someone other than ABC done it, it almost certainly would have been done in HD.

    Until such time as all of the desired services are covered in even a simple majority of the markets, OTA will continue to be a "lifeline" product as opposed to a source of complete entertainment.
  5. Jun 9, 2005 #5 of 17

    UHF AllStar

    Jan 10, 2005
    Right, the CEA used to be called the Consumer Electronics MANUFACTURERS Association. Their purpose in this report is to get analog shut down, therefore making a whole lot of folks run out to buy NEW TV's to replace the ones that suddenly stopped working. These are the same fine folks that continue to sell ten's of millions of analog TV's each year and fail to mention the fact that these could be obsolete in as little as 18 months. These are also the same folks that are trying to stop rules that require "HDTV's" to actually be able to receive any Digital signals by trying to get the digital tuner mandate reveresed. Makes no sense to me that they are for DTV, but do not wish to sell any DTV tuners.

    CEA has a history of fudging numbers, claiming that millions of HDTV's have been sold while failing to mention that they are HD MONITORS, not TVs, having no OTA DTV tuner in them. I would not assume that ANY report that they put out is anywhere close to accurate.
  6. Hound

    Hound Icon

    Mar 20, 2005
    There are many households who could care less about content, never watch sporting events, and would be satisfied with just ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS. I know of many senior citizen households who do not want to pay monthly cable or satellite fees. I know of many families with young kids who would be satisfied with ABC, CBS, NBC, WB, UPN, Fox and PBS.
    PBSkids is all they watch.

    In many areas of the US, you can now put a rabbit ears on top of your television set and get a crystal clear digital HD picture which is superior to satellite and cable. (depending on how close you live to the transmitter) This phenomenen is still a secret to the average person. Anyone who regularly looks at this website would probably not be satisfied with only OTA. That would not be enough content. OTA is not enough content for me, primarily because of sports. I understand that there are many areas of the US where OTA is not sufficient for many reasons.

    About twenty years ago, cable established a strong foothold, because it did bring a superior picture and new content. Ten years ago satellite started. Ten years from now, the landscape will be different.
  7. jegrant

    jegrant Legend

    Mar 24, 2002
    But when will digital OTA downconverters (or even tv sets) be available *cheaply*?

    I'm like Charlie in one respect - I don't want to pay a lot for that [programming]!

    Plus, from visiting CEA's own Antenna Web, it seems I'll need an expensive large rooftop OTA antenna installed to really get much, besides, say, WB & UPN.
  8. Hound

    Hound Icon

    Mar 20, 2005
    Over the next five years, the price of digital TV sets will continue to drop dramatically. Much more than 100 percent. The prices of two digital TV sets that I purchased in February 2004 have dropped by over 100 percent. The current price is less than half of what I paid. The landscape will change dramatically over ten years. The top of the line largest OTA Winegard antenna right now sells for only $73 on the Internet. There are many heavily populated areas of the US where a large rooftop antenna is not necessary to get digital programming. An indoor antenna is sufficient for millions of households. There are many households who would jump at the chance to eliminate a $40 a month pay TV bill. Sometime in the near future (less than five years) for less than $1,000, consumers will be able to purchase a digital TV with a tuner, and an antenna that can receive OTA signals. People do not yet know about it. However, the majority of households in the future (over 50 percent) will still want satellite or cable to get extra content. Digital OTA provides the best picture and sound. It is an uncompressed signal. Some households in the future that subscribe to cable or satillite, the head of which is a so called knowledgable videophile or audiophile, will watch OTA in addition to their pay TV service because OTA is a superior picture and sound.
    There will be a lot of people that do not want to make Charlie richer and richer, when they
    find out they can finance the upgrade of their equipment by eliminating monthly bills.
  9. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

    Apr 23, 2002
    1. I no more believe the self-serving CEA stats than I believe that the moon is made of green eggs and ham.

    2. To say "Only 33.6 million..." is indicative of the elitest attitude of these prejudiced prognosticators. 33.6 million is NOT a small number and certainly not one to be trivialized.

    3. The CEA are the same people who put up www.antennaweb.org as a resource for those few remaining OTA viewers. If OTA viewers are so irrelevant, why bother?

    Screw the CEA. :icon_stup
  10. BobaBird

    BobaBird EKB Editor

    Mar 30, 2002
    If we're going to start getting paid to accept these TVs, I'll take 3! I guess they'll make it up in volume. :lol:
  11. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

    Apr 23, 2002
    Yes, at more than a 100% drop in price, I'm in line for about 4 more flat-panels and a bushel full of that > 100%.
  12. Hound

    Hound Icon

    Mar 20, 2005
    You guys miss the point. At some time in the next five to ten years, flat panel digital TV's with
    tuners will be affordable to the average household. Analog TV's will almost completely disappear from retail stores. I am not going to guess at the price point in the future, $200, $300, $500, etc., but it will be affordable. However, there will also be many households that hang onto their old analog TV sets and continue to pay monthly fees for pay TV (cable or satellite). Some households upgrade their TV set every 20/25 years and are perfectly satisfied
    paying monthly for TV programming.
  13. Hound

    Hound Icon

    Mar 20, 2005
    When the price of a digital flat panel TV set drops from $2,199 in February 2004 to $899 in
    June 2005, that TV sells for less than 50 percent of its February 2004 price. Retailers advertise
    this as a price drop of more than 100 percent, because the old price is more than 100 percent
    of the new price. Also, remember one and one equals two, and one half of two equals one.
    No predictions on how low prices will go on digital flat panel televisions with a tuner and some type of OTA antenna, other than to say that it will become affordable to the average US household at some time in the future.
  14. BobaBird

    BobaBird EKB Editor

    Mar 30, 2002
    We got the point and, being computer owners, are familiar with the phenomenom of falling prices as the latest thing becomes more common. You seem to have missed that we were just seizing on the humor found by reading the statement the way percentages actually work rather than the way some advertiser presents it. You should take the ad in to the store to claim the "100%" price reduction. :D
  15. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

    Jan 7, 2005
    Kittrell, NC
    I also wonder how these statistics are skewed, since you can almost always find statistics to prove whatever you want.

    For instance... This particular study doesn't seem to indicate how many people are watching the broadcast TV channels... just perhaps how many watch satellite/cable vs OTA.

    Many folks who have had troubles receiving analog will be able to receive digital OTA once their stations power-up... and I bet a lot of those people (particularly folks in the rural areas) only had satellite/cable because they wanted to watch something... and they could easily drop down to OTA only once they can actually receive the signals.
  16. olgeezer

    olgeezer Guest

    Dec 5, 2003
    This is probably the major concern of turning off analog. In a large part of the USA (between the Mississippi and the Sierras) many folks rely on translators as their 'local' networks are often over a hundred miles away. While broadcaster have each spent a small fortune on towers, transmitters and other necessary equipment, the cost and time involved in getting the translators up to speed is a major chore. I talked to a local PBS program director, who said his station had over 120 translators.
  17. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

    Mar 22, 2004
    Hound happens to live in an area where rooftop antennas work just fine. In areas such as mine, where the terrain is very hilly and many homes don't have line of sight access to the broadcast station antennas, cable and satellite are the only viable choices. I live less than 6 miles from all my locals, and am unable to get a stable continuous feed from my ABC station. I left Dish and returned to Time Warner (which I despise) because it enabled me to get ABC, NBC and PBS in high def and CBS in digital (unfortunately, the CBS outlet here is pig headed and has no immediate plans to go HD).
    Regarding digital TV prices: RCA has a 27 inch HD ready (requires set top box) set for under $300. 32 inch receivers with integrated ATSC tuners can be had for under $700.

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