TV Answer Man
How Many People Actually Watch HD On HDTVs?
Washington, D.C. (February 12,
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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
But first, for background: Yesterday, I
on a new survey from the
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
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
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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