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The Push for Digital TV

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, June 20, 2001

TV makers want you to buy digital. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Consumers have been slow to rush out to replace their perfectly good TV sets at home with new digital models capable of receiving high definition pictures. Why should they? There isn't all that much programming being broadcast in high definition... .and the digital technology is expensive. But prices are edging lower. At Samsung Electronics for instance, television products manager John Lavoie says the company's new line of flat screen HDTV capable sets... starts at about fourteen hundred dollars. About consumer acceptance, Lavoie says...

"It's coming. It's something that people want to be able to buy something today that's ready for tomorrow. You make this investment every eight to twelve years on a good television. You want to have a TV that's going to be ready for the future and HDTV is coming. I mean the standard is going to be HDTV."

The deadline set by Congress for digital TV to replace today's analog signals is 2006 or when 85 percent of consumers have compatible sets... which ever comes later... .

"The government has mandated that they switch over to HDTV signals, so at some point you'll need a box to make your analog TV work or if you want a better picture, HDTV, I would suggest that you invest in that today so that you're ready for tomorrow when that comes."

At the moment... it's like the chicken and the egg quandary. Consumers won't buy until the programming is there... and programmers are waiting for the consumers. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.