We tend to get a provincial view of technology in this country, sometimes. A recent report from Inform Telecoms & Media puts things in perspective a bit. According to their numbers, HDTV penetration worldwide for last year was estimated to be just 6% of consumer households. Of this, North America makes up about two thirds of the total penetration. (HDTV penetration in the U.S. was nearly 50%, or nearly more than eight times the worldwide average.) Growth will come slowly, hitting 8% this year, and reaching 21% by 2014.
One reason for the slow growth is not all countries have switched to the digital broadcasts required for HDTV images, and even those that have switched have been slow to move to high definition images. The recent economic downturn certainly hasn’t helped much either. On the other hand, HDTV sets represent an increasing share of the production output, so the penetration will rise some simply because the only TVs you can get in some markets are HDTVs.
I remain unconvinced, however, that this will be sufficient to pull Blu-ray player sales up significantly, since many consumers are satisfied with DVD quality and can’t see the need to spend three times or more the price of a DVD player to get Blu-ray.