A press release by InStat projects that the number of households receiving HDTV services — cable, satellite, over the air, and IPTV — will swell from 15 million in mid-2006 to more than 20 million by the end of 2006. That’s a one-third increase in just six months. 91% of these homes will be in Japan and the USA. Yes, these are worldwide numbers, and that 20 million forecast is for the whole world, not just the USA. InStat also forecasts that the number will grow to more than 55 million by the end of 2009.
But what caught my eye was the little throw-away fact at the end. Only one-third of US homes with HD-capable televisions have HDTV service.
One out of three! That’s impressive. It means that people are buying these displays for some reason other than being able to watch higher-resolution images on them. It also could be that they get the serious sticker shock when they go to sign up for the service. I just got an offer in the mail from a service that I won’t name; after the initial period at a promotional rate, I would have to spend $110 per month to get HDTV signals from the company. That’s $1,320 per year, every year… unless they raise their rates! For that much money, I could buy a new 42″ set every year… or bigger if the prices keep coming down. So maybe it’s the high price of content that is keeping the adoption rate down in this country. I do know that this makes the free over the air digital broadcasts look mighty attractive to a cheapskate like me.
For a comparison of HDTV satellite services, click here.