HDTV Consumers Still Confused

Okay, your family and friends and neighbors still don’t get it. A new study by Leichtman Research Group shows that not much has changed in the HDTV market over the past couple years, in spite of all our efforts.

According to the results, about one in four U.S. households have at least one television capable of displaying HDTV content. That’s the good news. Of those, about 75% think that they watch HDTV. (This means that a quarter of them have HDTVs and think that they are not watching HDTV content, which makes you wonder why they bought the sets in the first place.)

The report estimates that just 53% of the households subscribe to an HD service (cable, satellite, or telephone company). Another 4% get free HD content over the air (terrestrial broadcast). That means about 20% of those with HDTVs think they are getting HD content but they’re not.

If the results of this study are correct, then almost half the people with HDTV sets don’t get HD content. And there are other parts of the report that indicate that many people seem to think that their DVD player is producing HD content. (Perhaps people think that upconverting players are somehow creating images with more detail?)

Clearly, we have a lot more work to do if people are going to understand what HDTV has to offer, and what they need to get it. Sure, buying my book is one way to explain it — and it makes a great holiday gift! — but there are other ways. The report indicates that only 2 out of 5 people who bought HDTVs were told what they needed to do in order to get HDTV content, so we could start by getting the store salespeople to explain this when they make a sale. And “civilians” who understand this stuff should make themselves available to co-workers, family members, friends, and neighbors to help spread the word and unravel the confusion that’s out there. If you get tired of answering the same questions over and over, send them here to the HDTV Almanac or have them write me at alfred@hdtvprofessor.com.

And don’t get me started on how many think that we will all need new televisions after February 17, 2009!