By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Statistics released by Digital Broadcasting Australia (DBA) show retailers and installers have now sold over 1.5 million digital TV products including set top boxes, integrated digital TVs and digital PVRs to Australian consumers.

Between January and March 2006, 211,000 digital television products were sold as a further 2.5 per cent of Australia’s 7.6 million households converted to digital television according to DBA figures, which reveal approximately 17.9 per cent of Australian homes are now receiving digital TV.

At the end of December 2005, 15.5 per cent of Australian homes were receiving free to view digital TV, or around 1.3 million homes.

However, the slow uptake of digital TV products continues to trouble the Federal Government, which is currently devising an action plan to stimulate consumer demand for digital TV.

The industry’s 1.5 million digital TV sales have come over more than five years, which pails in comparison to other consumer electronics devices such as digital still cameras, which according to GfK have sold almost 4.3 million units in the last three years. According to Canon marketing manager, Stuart Poignand, over two million digital cameras are expected to be sold this year alone.

The majority of digital TV product sales are still accounted for by digital set top boxes, which outsold digital integrated TVs by almost 10 to one last year with 563,281 sold between February 2005 and January 2006.

According to industry sell-in data, of the 1.35 million televisions sold to retailers in 2005, just 57,741 of these had integrated digital tuners. However, the DBA reports more than half this total has already been achieved in the first quarter of 2006 alone.

“Demand for integrated digital televisions continued to rise during the quarter with reported sales to retailers and installers of 32,500 units,” the DBA said in the report.

Of the 211,000 digital products sold during the quarter, 38 per cent were high definition.