Report: HDTV ownership up, but not much HD content viewing

Posted by Nino Marchetti

Chicago (IL) - Having a high definition television (HDTV) in your home doesn't necessarily equate to using it for true HD content, at least according to a new study from research firm In-Stat. They concluded there's a significant gap between HDTV ownership and actual HD content viewing.





In-Stat said the number of U.S. HDTV households increased by 40% in 2008. An HDTV household is defined as one having both an installed HD-capable TV and an HD programming service (such as HD cable, satellite or HDTV aerial). This increase still doesn't reflect the fact that nearly half of all HDTV-enabled households are not watching HD content.



"In the US, there are more than 39 million households with an installed HDTV set," said Mike Paxton, an In-Stat analyst. "However, only 22 million of those are HDTV households, meaning that 17 million U.S. households with an installed HDTV set are watching [regular non-HD programming]."



Even in 2009, HDTV service remains limited globally. Besides the U.S., only a handful of other countries offer it widely, including Japan, the U.K. and Canada. At the end of 2008, there were over 36 million true HDTV households worldwide (those watching HDTV content on HDTVs).



According to In-Stat, cable and satellite TV service providers account for about 80% of all HDTV service at his time - leaving digital HDTV broadcasts from local aerial stations well behind.



The report did not account for the number of households which may have HDTVs used primarily for Blu-ray or other HD format playback (including gaming), despite watching only regular non-HD commercial programming for television content.