Most HDTV set owners refuse subscription services

Of the almost 30 million North American consumers who paid $1000 or more for a new high-definition television set in the past year, only 44 percent pay for HD programming, a new survey has found.

Two in five U.S. television owners now have an HD set, said U.K.-based ABI Research in a report last week. However, most don’t pay a satellite or cable provider the $10 to $20 extra charge each month for HD programming.

This could be because of disc players and broadband downloading, or that most don’t even know they must pay for HD programming. “Some are satisfied with the alternatives to get HD content, such as broadband video and DVDs,” said Cesar Bachelet, senior analyst, multichannel video, at ABI.

North American consumers bought 10.3 million HDTVs in the fourth quarter, up 52 percent from a year earlier, according to NPD Group unit DisplaySearch. By 2012, more than 85 percent of U.S. households will have both HDTVs and access to HD signals either over the air or through a subscription service.