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Few consumers purchase HDTV for improved picture

New research finds that most American consumers, having lived happily with standard color television for decades, are not going to pay a hefty premium today to move to high-definition technology. Those who upgrade for picture quality alone are a small niche group, according to a new study by ABI Research of Long Island, NY.

HDTV has been available for some time now, but sales have not been growing at astronomical rates compared to other emerging digital technologies, the researchers said. Their research asks: Why haven’t consumers jumped on the HDTV bandwagon with more enthusiasm?

The HDTV market is, and will remain for some time, an exercise in supply driving demand, said findings in the new study, “The Future of the High Definition Television Market.” The research examines key drivers, enablers and hurdles for the future of the HDTV market, with a focus on consumer electronics vendors. The study blames the shortage of original HD content on the small audience base.

Critical mass for the HDTV market will arrive only when the equipment becomes sufficiently commoditized to drive prices down, and conventional TVs start to fade from the market. Only when consumers view conventional television as having reached its use-by date will large numbers of them be prepared to spend the premium for HDTV.

What does this mean for the markets? Vendors must simply persevere and produce as many sets as possible, waiting for the day when supply will drive demand, ABI found.

For information on the study, visit

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