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Almost 180 million homes will watch HD by 2012

HDTV is on the brink of mass market acceptance, according to a new report from Informa Telecoms & Media.

Sizeable declines in the price of set-top boxes and HDTV sets over the past two years are driving the technology into the mass market, said report author Simon Murray.

According to the report, “Global HDTV Forecasts 3rd Edition,” only 4 percent of homes worldwide will actively watch HD programming by the end of this year. However, this means nearly 44 million active HD households, up 19 million from the end of 2007.

By 2012, Informa forecasts 179 million active HD homes, representing 16 percent of TV households. Penetration of active HD homes will vary considerably from one country to the next. Canada and the United States will have more than 70 percent penetration by 2012, with Japan next at 58 percent.

The next highest country, South Korea, will be quite far behind at 39 percent, and no other country will be above 30 percent, according to the report. On the low side of the equation, 1 percent of homes in Brazil and Russia will be active HD households, while 2 percent each in China and India will be watching HD.

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