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TV Answer Man

How Many People Actually Watch HD On HDTVs?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (February 12, 2013) -- Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to swann@tvpredictions.com

Q. I read today (Monday, Feb. 11) that you said people may have HDTVs, but many people aren't actually watching shows in HD on their HDTVs. Well, how many is many? Do you have stats, Mr. Answer Man? How many people in the United States are still not watching high-def stuff? -- Timmy, Cleveland, Ohio.

Well, Timmy, I do have an answer for you.

But first, for background: Yesterday, I
reported on a new survey from the Leichtman Research Group that said 75 percent of U.S. households now have at least one HDTV. But in my article, I pointed out that 'many' people who own HDTVs actually don't watch programming in high-def. They either don't subscribe to a high-def package from their pay TV provider or, in some cases, they think they are watching HD when they actually are not. If they see a show in widescreen, they assume it's in HD when it may not be.

After I wrote the article, I asked the study's author, Bruce Leichtman, if he asked his survey respondents if they are watching high-def programming on their HDTVs and it turns out that he did. He just didn't include the information in his press release.

So here's the facts, according to Bruce.

He says that roughly 37 percent of all U.S. households are not watching anything in HD. That includes people who own HDTVs and those who don't. In addition, another 10 percent of U.S. households are either only watching their local broadcast channels in HD via an antenna, or they think they are watching HD when they actually are not. (For the reasons I stated above.) Some in that 10 percent group may also watch Blu-ray high-def discs from time to time.

The bottom line: It's safe to say that at least 40 percent of the nation are still not watching High-Definition programming (taking the 37 percent figure and at least three percent from the 10 percent group.) Considering that Leichtman says 75 percent have HDTVs, it's amazing that 40 percent of people are not watching anything in HD.

I think this screams out that the pay TV providers need to do a better job of educating their subscribers on why they should subscribe to HD packages -- and explain to them what's in HD and what's not.

It's a shame that so 'many' people have paid good money for HDTVs but are not getting their money's worth out of it. Plus, as a HDTV enthusiast, I wish more people would become aware of the incredible picture that HD can offer.

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