Re: Current HDTV country statistics
- From: Bob Miller <bob@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 01:41:33 -0400
My second comparable to Japan number should read 30.81 million not 26.07 million.
Compare 30.81 million comparable Japanese number to the 19 million US number but subtract the 40% of US households that don't even have any HD service hooked up to their HDTV set.
Japan is far far ahead and is accelerating and only started in December 2003, we started in 1998.
Bob Miller wrote:
Mark Crispin wrote:.
BusinessWeek Online reports that only 800,000 European households now receive HDTV programming, compared with 11 million in Japan and 19 million in the USA.Business Week is using figures from GFK, a German Marketing Services company, about Japanese HDTV ownership, not reception.
"Despite years of marketing efforts, only about 800,000 European households now receive HD programming, and only about 2 million homes own HD-ready TVs, compared with 11 million in Japan and 19 million in the U.S., according to German researcher GfK."
That's right, there are now nearly TWICE as many HDTV households in the USA as in Japan, despite Japan's decade headstart with analog HDTV. Actually, this is about right; the US has about twice Japan's population.The US has about 2.37 times the population of Japan actually. If GFK is right with their number of 11 million HDTV Japanese households that would be comparable to, 2.37 X 11 million or 26.07 million.
Considering that their analog HD was a flop we are talking HDTV digital households. This web site suggest that there are more like 13 million HDTV capable households in Japan today not 11 million. In that case the number is far higher, 2.37 X 13 million or a comparable number in the US of 26.07 million households.
Japan is far ahead of us in that case. And if you take into account that of those 19 million capable US HDTV households it is reported that up to 40% don't have any HD service hooked up to them its worse. Most don't even know any better. I have been in homes where they have an HDTV with cable which offers HD and the owners decline the HD box because SD looks great on their HDTV. They will not pay a small fee to get HD service on a 60" HD.
What's more, there are about 24 TIMES as many HDTV households in the USA as in all of Europe.My gripe is not and never has been with HDTV. It is with the lousy US OTA modulation, 8-VSB. In the US 8-VSB has hindered HDTV adoption. Cable and satellite have propelled HD in the US not OTA broadcasting. If a decent modulation had been chosen for the US HDTV would have been accepted far sooner at higher numbers. If a decent codec had been chosen with an upgrade path as we suggested in 1999 we would be able to actually receive decent quality HD at 1080i when there is action in the scene instead of macro blocking due to a bit starved MPEG2.
The new target is now for Europe to have a total of 70 HDTV broadcast channels by 2011; compare this to several hundreds already operating in the USA.
German researches GfK calls these results "disappointing."
Part of the credit for the spread of HDTV in the US and Japan is due to the "fierce competition between cable and satellite" which is largely absent in Europe.
As to my business plan as per 1999 a successful HDTV OTA launch in the US would have been perfect. HD offers the most room for data to be sent in a non interfering opportunistic way as the HD signal varies in the bitrate it demands. Multicasting using statistical multiplexing would be a far more efficient use of the spectrum and would have allowed us far less bandwidth for datacasting.
Our arguments then were that for a successful OTA HDTV transition we would need a better modulation, a better codec (VP4 we suggested) and an HD mandate. That is the law should mandate HD or a certain % of HD. Picking a bad modulation and locking in a poor codec was not the way to successfully launch OTA HD as we have found and as is still the case. Over the air HDTV is a total failure in the US today and will continue as such.
At best it will be used by a few percent of US households and as a backup for cable and satellite users for when it rains.
Part of the blame for the slow spread of HDTV in Europe is due to the EU mandate to switch from analog to non-HDTV digital. As a result, fewer than half of flat-panel TVs sold in Europe are HDTV capable. Rather than use the carrot approach (go digital, and get HDTV) of the USA, the EU choose the stick (go digital, zis ist an ORDER!!).In the US it was an FCC order, go digital, no requirment for HD, maybe you would get HD. Still is a maybe. Most OTA broadcasters are still hell bent on multicast must carry. That is still their Holy Grail and when they get it expect a lot of, guess what, multicasting.
Most if not all US OTA spectrum will end up being used for multicast of lower resolution than HD programs to mobile and fixed devices because that is what it is best used for. Most HD will be received via cable, satellite, telco fiber and the Internet. This may mean a sort of multicasting or dual broadcast using 8-VSB/A-VSB, it may mean a stripping of the spectrum from current broadcasters so it can be sold to those who will use a better modulation to compete with the three OTA DTV COFDM broadcasters gearing up for operations in the US, Qualcomm, Crown Castle and the Aloha Partner venture.
European consumers are forced to expend an enormous sum of money just to stay where they are on picture quality; the analog/digital switch swaps ghosts and snow for no signal and lost signal due to impulse noise. Farsighted consumers spend a little more money for "HD ready" sets, but so far they aren't getting anything for their money.I don't think that is the way it is presented to consumers in Europe. They are being presented with, in most cases, a free OTA service that increases the number of OTA channels and increases the quality of reception and picture to something far better than they had with analog.
They seem to like it since they are buying receivers in numbers that break records for any kind of electrical consumer device ever offered for sale in country after country. They are not going to be deprived of HD services since that will be or is being offered in OTA, cable and satellite services in most countries.
The delay in HD in Europe was due to political and commercial decisions and has nothing to do with their modulation choice. In fact their earlier debacle with HD, they were doing HD before the US, is probably the basis for their delay and has a lot to do with their insistence on an OTA modulation that actually works, DVB-T COFDM, unlike the garbage 8-vSB we are stuck with.
-- Mark --
Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.
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