Consumer Interest Up for HDTV, But Understanding Low

Consumer Interest Up for HDTV, But Understanding Low

According to Ipsos-Insight, interest in high-definition television (HDTV) continues to rise among American consumers as television set prices continue to drop and cable and satellite operators move to include more HD programming. The survey compared current consumer interest, probability of purchase, awareness, and familiarity with last year's levels.

Among those respondents who say they are familiar with HDTV, 79% report having looked at HDTV in a retail store. However, among HDTV-familiar Americans, three-quarters say the technology is too expensive to purchase-the same proportion as last year, despite price drops.

"As HDTV prices continue to come down and HD content continues to increase, these perceptions should improve," says Lynne Bartos, a leader with the company's Cable, Media and Entertainment research division.

Among those familiar with HDTV, nearly all associate the technology with positive and important benefits, such as having a superior quality television picture. Familiarity with HDTV was pronounced among men, people under the age of 55, and the more affluent-a socio-demographic profile that fits the "early-adopter" segment of technology consumers.

But while there are positive trends among those familiar with HDTV, HDTV has yet to make inroads among a broader consumer audience in terms of familiarity. Survey results revealed awareness of HDTV at parity with last year's levels. More importantly, of the respondents who had heard of HDTV, 40% said they didn't know anything about it, unchanged from the 2002 results. There remains considerable confusion, though. 13% of people surveyed say they currently own a high definition TV set - a much higher percentage than the industry's reported figure.

"High-definition television has yet to make much of an impression on most U.S. consumers," says Bartos. "While a significant number of Americans have heard of it, they know almost nothing about it."

"Retailers have an important role to play," says Bartos. "They need to explain to consumers the features and benefits of HDTV. And to reduce the confusion surrounding what it is."

HDTV in Retail Store (1000 respondents)
October 2002October 2003
Looked at69%79%
Somewhat/Very Likely to Buy1015
Benefits of HDTV (among knowledgeable respondents)
October 2002October 2003
Superior quality TV screen 90%92%
Full widescreen picture8692
Digital quality surround sound8482
October 2002October 2003
Aware of HDTV74%76%
Familiar with HDTV3436
Heard of HDTV but know nothing4040
Never heard of HDTV2623

Source: Ipsos US Express October 2003

VOD, PVR & HDTV Households in US (millions)


(HH purchasing at least one program/month)
Source: eMarketer, July 2003

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