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06.16.2003
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
HDTV growing, but still for the wealthy, study finds

The adoption of HD television sets in the United States now stands at four percent, a new study claims. However, despite a recent surge of growth due to falling prices, the technology remains a luxury item for high-income earners, the researchers found.

The new consumer study by Leichtman Research Group of Durham, N.H., found that current HDTV owners have an average household income of 73 percent above average, and those most likely to purchase an HDTV set in the next year have an average income 54 percent above average. The report is based on a survey of 1,250 randomly selected U.S. homes where cable television is available.

DBS subscribers lead the pack in awareness and favorable views toward HDTV, outpacing their cable competitors. Over-the-air broadcasters were not even mentioned in the study. Of those surveyed, Leichtman found that nine percent of DBS subscribers in areas where cable TV is available currently own an HD-capable set, compared to four percent of cable subs. Another 13 percent of DBS customers said they are "very familiar" with high definition, while only eight percent of cable viewers could say the same.

“With over 275 million television sets in US households, it will be many years before HDTV sets become the norm,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. “Yet with prices decreasing, purchasing an HDTV set is becoming a default for the high-end TV buyer rather than an active decision to get an HDTV set. This will result in the sale of millions of HDTV sets in the next few years.”

Leichtman forecasted that the total number of HDTV-capable households in the US will grow to 33 million by the end of 2007.

For more information visit www.leichtmanresearch.com.

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