HDTV Penetration Will Hit 36% In 2007

By the end of 2007, 16 million high-definition TVs will be sold, bringing the total to 52.5 million in the U.S. That's 36% penetration of households, according to new figures from the Consumer Electronics Association. The household penetration figure represents a 6% increase over 2006, indicating a robust rate of adoption for the new technology. Paradoxically, however, less than half of HDTV owners received high-definition programming.

The CEA study found that only 44% of HDTV owners are receiving HD programming. The reason? Many cited the cost of certain kinds of HD programming. Still, of all HDTV-owning households, 50% were interested in adding more subscription programming--with the fence-sitters (a cohort of at least 6%) presumably holding out for lower prices.

Among those who do receive HD programming, 66% get it via cable, 27% via satellite, 8% via over-the-air broadcasts, 3% via fiber-optic services and 3% from the Internet. This breakdown mirrors the delivery rates of regular TV programming. Thus, the CEA believes HDTVs are not causing significant disruption or migration from any one system to another.

Of course, the overall low delivery of HD programming begs the question: Why buy an HD set? The CEA study found that consumers wanted to increase the quality of their movie and gaming experiences. Along with DVD players, the most common piece of equipment associated with HDTV sets not receiving HD programming were video game systems and surround sound.

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