A survey of U.S. consumers concluded that 8 percent described their televisions as widescreen LCD or plasma, but not high definition.
Because all widescreen plasma or LCD televisions are, in fact, HDTVs, the survey by Frank N. Magid and Associates underscores the confusion over what constitutes high definition and how to take full advantage. The survey, reported by CED Magazine, sought to answer a bigger question of how many HDTV owners are subscribing to a high definition video service.
Magid found a representative sample of 1,373 HDTV owners in the United States, ages 21 and over, and using a survey determined that 66 percent of them get high definition programming, up 2 percent from the year before. Gradually, people are warming up to high definition, with 43 percent of new HDTV buyers signing up for high definition programming around the time of purchase, compared to 32 percent on average over the last five years.
At the beginning of last January, a different company, In-Stat, found that a larger number of people — 43.6 percent — were not watching in HD, not including packaged media and video games. Between the two surveys, I think you can safely say that the split of people using HD to its full potential is about 60/40.
For those who abstain, some of the old sticking points remain, with 42 percent saying the options aren’t worth the price. Interestingly enough, almost a third of respondents said they think the TV looks fine without HD programming, while only a quarter of respondents gave that reasoning last year.
Weirder still, a larger percentage of consumers than ever — 13 percent of the total surveyed, including standard definition TV owners — said they haven’t seen or heard anything about high definition televisions. You’d think there’s a marketing problem at hand, but maybe in the recession, manufacturers felt the money wasn’t well spent. If a subset of people know nothing about HDTVs, why introduce them to the expensive technology when they may not be ready to make the purchase?