04.12.2004 12:00 PM
HDTV’s big picture extremely limited

After years of hype and promises, high-definition television has finally captured the imagination of a small, but growing, audience of global TV viewers.

Scientific-Atlanta's Explorer 3270HD set-top box provides HDTV viewers with a broad range of capabilities, including simple installation, more audio options, and new stretch and zoom capabilities for HDTVs.
However, faster adoption of HDTV is being limited by a shortage of HD programming, the continuing high cost of equipment, the lack of availability of HD service in many areas, and a continuing gap in public knowledge about the technology, according to a new industry report.

HDTV, which is becoming widely available in a few select countries, is being marketed as a premium service that has the potential to boost incremental monthly revenues for cable and satellite operators, while also providing terrestrial TV broadcasters with a new weapon in their fight against pay-TV services, said In-Stat/MDR, a high-tech market research firm..

Currently, just more than four million worldwide TV households receive and watch HDTV programming, although most industry insiders expect that number to climb rapidly over the next few years, the report said. Increasing consumer demand for HDTV service is also driving sales of new consumer electronics products, such as HDTV sets and HD-capable set top boxes.

In-Stat/MDR also found that:

  • Total worldwide terrestrial, satellite, and cable TV households that are watching HD programming on an HDTV set are projected to rise to almost six million by the end of 2004, and ultimately reach 45 million by the end of 2008.
  • HDTV service remains extremely limited in its reach, with only four countries offering the service beyond an experimental basis. These countries are the United States, Japan, Canada, and Australia. However, a few other countries, mostly in the Asia-Pacific region, are expected to roll out limited HDTV services in the next year.
  • Japan is leading the HDTV movement with more than two million households receiving and watching HDTV programming. The U.S. is second with just more than 1.5 million households.
  • The report, "High-Definition TV Services: Coming to a Home Near You?", examines the availability of high-definition television services around the world. It covers market and industry drivers for HDTV service subscribers and viewers, and discusses how the availability of HD programming and the development of different HD business models are impacting the market for HDTV services.
  • For more information, visit: www.instat.com.

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