HDTV Future Unclear

Roughly 4.8 million U.S. homes will probably own a high-definition-capable television (HDTV) by the end of 2002 and Strategy Analytics predicts that figure to surge to 29 million by 2008, with half connected to a high definition television service.

U.S. HDTV Forecast: 2008
Total HD-Capable Displays
Installed: 33.4 Million
Terrestrial HDTV 8%
Cable HDTV 27%
Satellite HDTV 14%
No HDTV Service 51%
Source: Strategy Analytics, Inc.

“HDTV has been a long time coming,” says David Mercer, vice president, Broadband Practice, at Strategy Analytics. “But sufficient momentum is now building at both content and operator levels to ensure a successful niche market in the longer term.”

Strategy Analytics has high expectations for high-definition, considering that 81.3 percent of the 1,058 HDTV-aware U.S. consumers that were surveyed in June 2002 for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) say they are “very unlikely” or “somewhat unlikely” to buy an HDTV set in the next year.

However, the high level of negativity could be attributed to what consumers actually know about HDTV. More than six-in-ten (60.3 percent) of consumers are aware of HDTV, but almost half (49.8 percent) are confused about how HDTV is delivered to the home and what equipment is needed.

Furthermore, of the 1,058 HDTV-aware consumers that were surveyed, 21.3 percent thought that HDTV signals are delivered to the home from a cable TV provider; 21.4 percent said by a satellite provider; and 7 percent said by using an over-the-air antenna.

Those that are likely to be more aware of HDTV are 25- to 54-year-old males, in the $25,000 to $75,000 annual income range, and probably a digital broadcast systems (DBS) or broadband subscriber.

Jupiter Research (a unit of this site’s corporate parent) has identified cost of ownership and availability of programming as growth drivers for the HDTV market.

In a June 2002 report, “Does High-Definition TV Guarantee High Returns?” the firm found that 19 percent of satellite subscribers and 11 percent of digital cable subscribers said that they plan to purchase or upgrade to distributors in the next 12 months.

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