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European Analysis: HD to Remain ‘Patchy’ a While Longer

A recent market analysis by Dublin-based analyst Research and Markets concludes that for the short term, HD broadcast offerings in Western Europe will remain “patchy” at best, for at least three big reasons, including the lack of HD content on free terrestrial platforms.

The Irish firm said so far only Sweden is providing HD on a free over-the-air basis, and that only France and the United Kingdom (BBC) are likely to follow in the foreseeable future. (However, the analyst concludes that, despite its name, Freesat HD in the United Kingdom has a “disappointing HD lineup” and is not likely to make a strong market impact in the region.)

Other reasons cited in the study for a slow rollout of HD in Europe is a “lack of local HD channels in many countries,” with pay-TV operators relying mostly on American HD channels, thus far, for content. The third major reason, it concludes, it that HD “has not been pushed hard enough yet by many of Europe’s pay TV operators.” Paradoxically, the analyst group says, HD has been used heavily as a marketing tool, but the marketing has not been followed by the delivery of an attractive menu HD channels yet.

Research and Markets says the penetration rate of HD sets has now reached only 20 percent in Western Europe (compared to what it said is 36 percent in North America).