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HDTV predictions for 2006: who's right?

Kevin C. Tofel

Phillip Swan, president of TVPredictions, makes more TV-related lists than Mark Burnett makes reality shows. All kidding aside, "Swanni's" lists are entertaining and remarkably accurate. Today, he made ten predictions for HDTV in 2006.

Turns out I like lists too, so I'm going to give my predictions on Swanni's predictions. I'll put a percentage to indicate how accurate I think his prediction is: 0% means "What was Swanni smokin' when made this one?" while 100% says "That Swanni sees the whole 1080p picture. He's dead on!" The doors are open for your comments on my comments on his predictions. I predict that sentence will confuse more than a few...

1. Swanni says: "DirecTV will emerge as the HDTV leader."

Kevin says: "25% chance. Watch out for Dish as they add 11 or more VOOM HD channels, and don't count out Verizon FiOS for HD."

2. Swanni says: "Several more HDTV networks will launch."

Kevin says: "85% accurate. As we begin the final push in our DTV transition, smaller and independent networks will realize that they must provide HD to compete."

3. Swanni says: "New HDTV DVD players will be the buzz of the industry."

Kevin says: "50% correct. The media is already buzzing, but format wars and high prices will push HDTV DVD adoption well beyond 2006. Bigger buzz will be around HDTV PVR units for timeshifting and the first HDTV placeshifting devices via broadband."

4. Swanni says: "HDTV sales will jump in the first two months of 2006."

says: "35% chance. Sales continue to increase and typically jump before the Super Bowl. However, continued competition and falling prices will drive HDTV sales even higher through the year."

5. Swanni says: "The Multicasting movement will be slowed in 2006."

says: "95% accurate. Congress won't want to dictate what channels cable and satellite providers must carry. Startups like USDTV will alleviate signal issues for consumers in rural areas and reduce the need for mandated multicasting."

6. Swanni says: "HDTVs in hotel rooms will encourage more people to buy sets for their homes."

Kevin says: "10% correct. Hotel chains won't have enough of the HDTV sets in-house for any major sales impact in 2006. Watch for this in 2007."

7. Swanni says: "The PDP-LCD-DLP flat-screen TV war will spur more interest in HDTV."

Kevin says: "30% accurate. Swanni does note that this also confuses the consumer, which is correct. Additionally, better and additional HDTV programming will create more buzz in 2006."

8. Swanni says: "PDP EDTV prices will hit $1,000 by the 2006 holidays, with PDP HDTVs falling below $1,500."

Kevin says: "95% confidence in this one. Watch for retailers like Target and Wal-Mart to help drive this via store-brand sets. Additional LCD price drops will cause PDPs to decline through the year as well."

9. Swanni says: "RPTV sales will suffer in 2006 and beyond."

says: "100% true. The trend has already begun as flat screen technologies mature with better contrast ratios and lower prices. Watch for SED flat-screen introduction add pressure in late 2006."

10. Swanni says: "The networks will more frequently promote HDTV as a reason to watch a primetime show."

says: "75% true. This has already started with brief mentions of shows available in HD. Look for prominent ads about HDTV programming availability and even some HDTV-only features that won't be available in SD."

Well, there you have it. I've generally agreed with half of Swanni's ten predictions. I'll let you decide whose predictions you agree with more in our comments. We'll have to wait almost a year to see how Swanni (and yours truly) did!

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