Ownership of HDTVs Increasing, But Consumers Reluctant to Migrate to High-Definition Television - Research

End-Users Acquire HDTVs, But Transition to HD Remains Slow

by Anton Shilov
01/27/2009 | 06:50 PM

The number of households with an installed high-definition television (HDTV) continues to grow worldwide. However, this installed base of households is decidedly biased to two countries: the U.S. and Japan. Moreover, in the USA there is a significant gap between HDTV ownership and households utilizing HD programming, reports In-Stat market research firm.


The number of US HDTV households, defined as households having both an installed HD-capable TV set and also receiving and watching HD programming, increased by almost 40% in 2008.  However, the growth rate could well have been much larger.

“In the U.S., there are more than 39 million households with an installed HDTV set. However, only 22 million of those are HDTV households, meaning that 17 million US households with an installed HDTV set are not watching HD programming,” according to Mike Paxton, an In-Stat analyst.

On a global basis, HDTV service remains limited to a relatively small number of countries, primarily the U.S. and Japan, which greatly slows down adoption of HDTVs. Nevertheless, the current numbers of HDTV households are so negligible – 36 million across the world in late 2008, up fro up from 29 million at year-end 2007 – that the whole high-definition technology turns out to be an extremely niche market globally.

Even though there are situations when an HDTV is used primarily for Blu-ray movie watching, video gaming and so on, such situations are rare, as it is strange to own a high-def TV and not use high-def television. As a result it can be assumed that for many HDTV owners high-definition television is either not available, or is too costly to subscribe.

Even though the number of European HDTV households is rising, it will be 2011 before the number of HDTV households in that region reaches the 10 million mark, according to In-Stat.

Cable and satellite TV service providers provide HD programming to almost 80% of all HDTV households, meanwhile telco TV service providers and terrestrial broadcast TV service providers provide service to the remaining HDTV households.