From The Editor's Desk (ET/D, July 1981)

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Exciting and astonishing things are going to happen in consumer electronics in the next few years. Predictions by reputable forecasters assert that because of the expected explosion of video-based consumer electronics, the overall need for service will increase greatly in three to five years. Predictions have been made that the average household will spend about two thousand dollars per year by 1990 on consumer electronics equipment, software and service. It appears that though service per unit has declined greatly, the number of units of consumer electronic equipment is still to increase.

What are some of the factors, large and small, producing this increase? The first is the increase in video program material becoming available on tape, disc, through cable and soon direct broadcast satellite. VCR sales increase steadily, are reportedly up 139% so far this year. Video discs are apparently off to a somewhat slow start, though RCA says they are good, and as expected. With almost everyone getting into the act, the discs will catch on. I do foresee a reduction in relative cost of both players and discs as production bugs are worked out. The availability of more diverse programming via cable or satellite is imminent. Cable systems are being built with 50 to 100 channel capability.

Direct broadcast satellite however may be the real source. RCA is about to apply for a direct broadcast satellite system license. According to Television Digest, DBS Corporation intends to file an application for the launch of three satellites each capable of 10 channels of video. Each satellite would cover an area of the U.S. Malcom Forbes, in his "Fact and Comment" column of Forbes magazine for June 8, 1981, says of the relationship of cable and DBS: "But putting all your bucks on one costly wire to each house? In less than 60 months, for $300, more or less, every house and apartment will be able to stick a dish-topped mast on the roof and, with it, tune in on any one of the countless programs being beamed to and from most anywhere." Another need for video displays is presented by teletext. About a quarter of a million teletext sets are now in use in Europe. According to the British, teletext receivers, costing about $250 more than a standard television set have been selling at the rate of about 8000 per month.

The cost premium, now about 25%, is expected to fall to 10-15% by 1982 and teletext may well be a standard feature soon thereafter--another reason for making sure of your digital electronics/microprocessor knowledge.

For those who diversify and adapt, the future is reasonably bright.

If you cannot, straight television service will continue to decline, and you may soon have to look for another job or retire.

To see what you, our readers, think and do ET/D will be conducting a two part survey; a list of questions and a postage-paid return card will be the first thing you see when you open ET/D's next two issues.

This survey will tell us something about you, and, what you want to see in ET/D. You will not have to identify yourselves on the return card and we will let you know the results after they are tabulated. We would like to be deluged with returns and I encourage you to take a few minutes to answer.

Sincerely, WALTER H. SCHWARTZ

(source: Electronic Technician/Dealer)

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