The news comes courtesy of ACMA, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, who, when they’re not busy scandalising themselves by trying to censor radio titan Alan Jones, do actually do some useful work in figuring out important stuff like digital TV penetration.
Although one would have imagined that, long ago even in the analogue-only era, TVs became an “essential -and prominent- piece of household technology”, the good news is that hopefully not-too-expensive government-funded ACMA research has, “more than ever before”, confirmed this.
Where we’d all be without government organisations doing this -vital- work for us, I don’t know – probably sitting in front of the telly, enjoying a good show.
ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman, tells Aussies a vital fact they may not have figured out for themselves, stating that: “As prices drop and features – such as large screens, high definition (HD) and internet connectivity – become more common, Australians are now enjoying an unprecedented level of quality in their viewing experience”.
Yes, it’s true - “unprecedented quality improvements” came from manufacturers with a financial, profit-seeking incentive to produce better products with every cycle, and even though these manufacturers spend millions in expensive research of their own, the laws of supply and demand ensure that prices drop and features improve. Thank goodness for the free market!
ACMA’s report explains that, in 2011, just about everyone, or 99% to be more precise, “has a least one television set”, with 18.7 million “working TV sets in private dwellings in Australia”, which is an average, we’re told, of 2.2 per household.
Now, that doesn’t quite reach up to the heights of mobile phones, where there are more mobile phones than actual people in Australia, but hey, if we add all those “non-working TV sets” stuck in people’s garages because it’s usually either too expensive to get rid of them and certainly illegal to dump them, mobile phones and TVs might be on an even keel, although ACMA’s research makes no mention of that.
Thankfully, Canberrans can now take their old TVs to the dump to be thrown away responsibly, something that is only relatively recent in its implementation – hopefully more cities do this soon too.
In the 12 months before ACMA’s study, 29% of households purchased a new TV, and 70% percent had purchased one in the three years previous, while mid-2011 had seen a whopping 80% of “main TV sets” in Aussie homes already converted to digital sets.
69% of people said they got a new TV because the wanted a “flat” or a “bigger screen”, while 66% said they wanted a “better quality picture”.
Virtually all TVs bought in the last 3 years were digital, and the “switch to digital by the end of 2013 was given as a reason to buy a new set by 59% of those surveyed.”
Appointment TV, or “viewing live television” as Nielsen’s latest multi-screen report” puts it, remains the “primary way of watching TV”, although watching recorded TV (time shifting) is increasing.
And, while people seem to upgrade their phones on a whim, TV sets in Australia manage to clock up, on average, 8.3 years sitting in homes before they’re replaced, with 40% of all TVs in Aussie homes “estimated” to be less than four years old in mid-2011 – I guess they’re now “less than five years old” seeing as we’re in mid-2012.
You sure do have to love (or love complaining about) reports that have stats that are a year old by the time we get them, eh? Ah well.
There are no figures for the far more interesting 2012, now that we’re half way through it, but between 2010 and 2011, the “average price of an LCD television set fell by $256 (32%), while “the average price of a plasma television set fell by $174, or 14%”.
ACMA says those surveyed reported that the average price for a new TV bought in the year to June 2011 was $1,131.
Bucking the trend to replace things for replacement’s sake were the 32% of people who “said that they had purchased a new set because the old one had stopped working”.
80% of purchase “were to replace an existing set, with 57% of those kept or given to family, friends or charity”.
ACMA also gives the Antenna fix-it man industry a boost by reminding Aussies that old antennas can spoil the TV viewing experience.
Spending that government-delivered cash yet again, ACMA tells us that it didn’t just release ONE report today, but hey, we get value for money – we got TWO reports today.
This second report – also puzzlingly a year old (what have ACMA people been doing for the first six months of this year, compiling reports?) – is entitled “Television equipment and antenna stock in Penrith households 2011”, and this earth shattering report “found that antennas were typically quite aged, with around half estimated to be more than 10 years old”.
Whether you’re watching analogue or digital TV, the report’s “research results emphasise that consumers need to maintain the condition of their antenna systems to get the best reception”.
No, I’m not kidding, that’s what the report says, amazingly enough. I guess we’d never have figured this out for ourselves, but hey… this, I remind you, is what august organisations like ACMA are for.
In what isn’t quite but is almost a mirror image of the first report, Penrith households surveyed showed that 83% of them had switched to digital, and 47% of them “owned a TV set less than two years old”.
The Australian Government’s “mySwitch website provides a useful tool for those experiencing digital reception issues”.