About Half of HDTV Owners Watching True HD

Jan 25, 2007  •  Post A Comment

More HDTV owners than ever are watching bona fide high-definition programming.
About 52 percent of Americans who own HDTV sets also subscribe to an HD cable or satellite service, according to a recently released study by the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing.
Though media reports expressed surprise at the results, the figure is actually higher than some previous studies of HD service market penetration.
In August, a study by In-Stat found only 36 percent of HDTV owners had made the transition to HD service. At the time, In-Stat predicted that number might actually go down, since HDTV set sales have been outpacing HD service adoption.
Experts say the problem starts at the store. When a customer buys an HD set, retail outlets and manufactures often don’t inform the customer that he must subscribe to HD service, or use an antenna, to receive HD signals.
Once at home, a digital set’s sharp picture quality manages to satisfy many viewers. At some point, a cable or satellite company might advertise an HD package, but with many providers still offering only a handful of channels, some customers reason they shouldn’t pay more for content they already receive.
So many owners pay thousands for an HDTV, without actually watching HDTV.
The CTAM study also said 34 percent of owners who are not HD subscribers were not aware they needed a programming service, and 61 percent of non-subscribers falsely believe that HD picture quality is the same as DVD.
“It’s surprising the number of Americans who are investing in high-end HDTV sets who aren’t getting true high-definition channels,” said Char Beales, president and CEO of CTAM. “People are not only missing out on a stunning experience, but a world of HD-only shows.”
This article is part of TVWeek.com’s High Definition Newsletter, a weekly source of breaking HD news, articles and interviews written by Senior Reporter James Hibberd.


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