Only 33.6 million, or 12 percent, of the 285 million television sets in use in the U.S. are used to view over-the-air (OTA) television programming, according to new data released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
The study also found that approximately 10 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.
CEA's calculations are partially based on information from Nielsen Media Research, which shows there are 109.7 million U.S. television households, each owning an average of 2.6 televisions. CEA employed the firm of Opinion Research Corporation and explored how each of the 285 million television sets are used.
The study found that only 5.2 million (3 percent) of TVs in households subscribing to cable are not connected to cable service. Of these, approximately 474,000 are used exclusively to view something other than television programming, leaving 4.7 million TVs (less than 3 percent) in these households used for viewing OTA television. Just over 7 million (9.8 percent) of the 71 million TVs in satellite households are used for viewing OTA broadcasts while only 200,000 of the 3.46 million TVs in households subscribing to both cable and satellite are used for OTA viewing.
"Clearly, the vast majority of TVs in the U.S. are not used to view over-the-air television and we can presume that these numbers will diminish as more and more Americans subscribe to pay TV services, including coming technologies such as TV-over-IP, via telephony and even powerline," said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. "More than 88 percent of today's TVs are connected to cable or satellite service or are used to play videogames, watch pre-recorded content or some other non-broadcast television function."
Of total TV households, the survey found that 65.7 million, or 60 percent, subscribe to cable, 26 million, or 24 percent, subscribe to digital satellite and 2.7 million, or 2 percent, subscribe to both. Another 2.1 million households, or 2 percent, report that they do not subscribe to a pay TV service nor use an antenna to receive OTA television.
CEA issued its data in a letter to the leadership of the U.S. Senate and House Commerce Committees. The association provided the information to assist the Committees in "their deliberations on how to ensure the needs of all Americans are addressed when analog broadcasting ceases." The House Commerce Committee is preparing to consider legislation currently under development by Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) that will set a hard cut-off date for analog broadcasts. The Senate Commerce Committee is poised to release draft digital television legislation by the end of June 2005.
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