Interest in HD Rising, But Confusion Remains

According to a survey conducted by media research group Ipsos-Insight, interest in high-definition television continues to rise among American consumers as television set prices continue to drop and cable and satellite operators move to include more HD programming. The survey compared current consumer interest, probability of purchase, awareness and familiarity with last year's levels.

Significant proportions of respondents who say they are familiar with HDTV report having looked at HDTV in a retail store (79 percent), and are considering purchasing an HDTV set in the next three months (15 percent). These numbers are considerably higher than last year. In late 2002, 69 percent reported having looked at HDTV in a store, and 10 percent stated intentions to buy HDTV in the near term. However, three-quarters of HDTV-familiar Americans (76 percent) say the technology is too expensive to purchase. Despite price drops, this percentage remains the same as last year.

The survey suggests that while there are positive trends among those familiar with HDTV, the technology has yet to make inroads among a broader consumer audience. Survey results revealed awareness of HDTV at parity with last year's levels: 76 percent of Americans are aware of HDTV, compared to 74 percent last year. Of these respondents, 40 percent said they didn't know anything about the technology, which remains unchanged from last year.

Ipsos-Insight points out that there may be an element of technological confusion among consumers who claim to own HDTVs. 13 percent of the respondents who indicated they were familiar with HDTV say they own an HDTV set -- a much higher percentage than the industry's reported figure.