IDC Finds Selling TV’s to Consumers a Game of Numbers

SAN MATEO, CA – December 16, 2004 – U.S. consumers are excited and overwhelmed by the raft of new digital television options that have hit the marketplace. While flat TVs using LCD and plasma technology have garnered the lion's share of attention, microdisplay-based projection televisions and even HDTV-capable CRTs are also capturing the eyes (and wallets) of new TV buyers. In order to better understand this marketplace, IDC recently completed a survey of more than 1,200 likely TV buyers asking about their preferences for TV technologies, types, sizes, features, brands, purchase location, and more.

Looking at the results of the survey in sum, this holiday's likely TV purchasers want a 42-inch HD flat TV priced at less than $2,000 from a major consumer electronics (CE) vendor purchased at a familiar CE retail store – but they could live with alternatives in several of those categories.

"The two key issues that came through in the results and in the verbatim comments were: first, price points are a key inhibitor of this market; and second, consumers are incredibly overwhelmed and confused about their digital TV options," said Danielle Levitas, vice president of Consumer and Broadband Markets research at IDC. "Other concerns that came up in the survey and in the verbatim section include: warranty (consumers want more than 3 months or even a year on these new, expensive sets); buyers want widescreen, but perceive 16:9 as significantly more expensive than 4:3 sets; set up needs to be easier; and, quality is important, yet many perceive most DTVs as comparable."

Current market realities are that consumers can purchase a 42-inch ED plasma from a second-tier brand at an alternative outlet for that magic sub-$2,000 price point. The cold hard reality is that both consumers and vendors will need to reconcile these two alternatives over the next several month for this market to reach the kind of sales success that many have predicted (and for which many vendors hope); otherwise, many consumers may simply delay their purchases.

To purchase IDC's most recent survey and analysis, U.S. Holiday 2004 Digital TV Purchase Survey (IDC #32352), please call IDC's Sales hotline at 508-988-7988 or email

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