11.29.2006 12:00 AM
'TV Shows' No Big Deal for HD Buyers
A survey by Frank N. Magid Associates suggests that while consumers in North America are buying HD flatscreens this year in response to sales prices that put several choices near the $1,000 mark, watching television programs in HD, per se, is not a key motivator for many of the purchases.

The Magid study said less than half of respondents (47 percent) who purchased HD sets in 2006 said that looking forward to "watching TV shows" in HD was an important factor.

"Some people are content to watch DVDs, and we saw a decent number of new HD owners who are also focused on video console gaming," a Magid spokeswoman told USA Today. Both Sony's PlayStation 3 with Blu-ray Disc and Microsoft's Xbox 360 with an add-on HD DVD drive made their debuts earlier this month.

Other factors the Magid study found, which could be lessening consumer interest in HD content coming from broadcast and cable venues are the relatively low number of HD channels yet available (apart from broadcast network affiliates), along with confusing cable prices for tiers that might include HD options, and the required set-up technology that is still intimidating to many.

Magid said a majority of HD owners in its fall survey of more than 1,100 adults rated satisfaction with their HD programming "7" out of "10." "That's pretty mediocre," according to the Magid spokesperson. She said the study finds that broadcasters "have not done a good job" of promoting their HD offerings.

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