Most Prime-Time Viewing ON HDTV, Quality An Issue

HDTV-Sony-BHDTVs are now in three-quarters of U.S. TV homes. But that doesn't always translate into HDTV program signal quality for most viewers.

Nielsen says the number of HDTV set homes is up 14% from a year ago; 40% of those HDTV homes have multiple HDTV sets. Additionally, Nielsen says 61% of all prime-time viewership comes via HDTV sets. There are some 115 million overall U.S. TV homes.

But not all viewing on HDTV sets is HD quality.

Nielsen says "true" HD viewing means using an HDTV set with an HD set-top box that gets HDTV channels and programming. When factoring that in, Nielsen says 29% of English-language broadcast came from HD prime-time viewing, with 25% going to cable TV prime-time viewing.

Nielsen says its methodology comes from a study of 17 networks -- five English-language broadcast networks and 12 ad-supported cable networks. It was conducted during May 2012 and accounted for the share of total tuning watched in "true" HD versus all other ways to watch on a TV.

Some analysts believe consumers are still confused about HDTV -- that just buying an HDTV set means getting HDTV-quality programming.

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