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Many HDTV owners still do not subscribe to HD programming service

The latest research from Frank N. Magid Associates has found that the long-standing disconnect between HDTV set ownership and HD set owners actually viewing HD programming continues.

HDTV set ownership continues to grow, this year climbing 3 percent to 35 percent of consumers who say they have one in their homes, according to the researcher. Another 8 percent say their primary TV set is an LCD TV, plasma TV or widescreen unit, but are not aware that it is an HDTV, according to the researcher. Together, the figures mean 43 percent, or about 49 million U.S. households, own an HDTV set.

Two-thirds of all those who say they have at least one HDTV actually subscribe to some sort of HDTV service, up only 2 percent from last year, according to the study.

So why are a third of the people who have purchased an HDTV not subscribing to an HD programming service? According to the findings of the survey, 42 percent of these sideliners say that the “options are not worth the fees” when it comes to HD subscriptions, and one-third say cost and affordability prevent them from subscribing.

However, 16 percent of recent HDTV buyers say they may sign up for satellite HD service in the next six months, and 22 percent say they may sign up for cable HD, the survey revealed. The willingness of these viewers to subscribe to HD programming means service providers may capture 4.5 percent more of TV households as customers.

Frank N. Magid Associates conducted the online survey in October. The researcher used a nationally representative sample of 1373 adults age 21 or older who own HDTVs.