Europe: Consumers Starting to 'Future-Proof' HD Buys
Western Europe has been relatively slow to adopt HD as a TV option, compared to Asia and North America, although its DTV transition has generally been ahead of other sectors primarily because it's been concentrating on 16:9 digital SD, not HD. In addition, there's been confusion and sometimes conflicting HD-related issues among both individual countries and within the European Union.
Today, only an estimated 800,000 European households receive HD programming of any kind, and a mere two million homes have HD-ready sets, according to BusinessWeek Online
. Yet apparently more and more European consumers are starting to "future-proof" their television purchases by opting for "HD-ready" units, whether or not their region currently receives HD programming via dish, terrestrially or cable.
Almost half of all flat-panel monitors sold throughout Europe today are HD-ready, with at least one manufacturer (Samsung) saying that 75 percent of its flat-panel sales are in the HD-ready category, said BusinessWeek.
Another maker, Sharp, has indicated that soon it will market only HD-ready sets in Europe. German analyst GfK projects that nearly one-third of all European households will have HD-ready sets by 2010. (U.S. and Japanese HD-ready penetration by 2010 is predicted to be 59 percent and 66 percent, respectively, said GfK, headquartered in Nurenberg.)