Nielsen: HD Customers Dissatisfied with Program Selection

In its first-ever survey of HDTV viewers, The Neilsen Company reported that consumers with HDTV sets are generally happy with picture quality but dissatisfied with the selection of available programming.

In the survey of 511 respondents conducted last summer, 85 percent of HD owners gave a 4 or 5 rating (with 5 meaning “excellent” and 1 meaning “poor”), for picture quality but only 39 percent provided the same rating for programming selection.

Women were slightly more positive about picture quality than men. There was no difference among cable versus satellite owners subscribers. Far more than half (60 percent) of the respondents got their HD signals from cable, 31 percent received HD programming from satellite and only 6 percent reported receiving HD via an antenna.

Sports and movies were the most popular categories; music and reality shows were the least popular programs watched in HD, (very few reality shows are broadcast in hi-def). ESPN HD was the most popular sports channel, Discovery HD was the most watched channel for documentaries and HBO HD was the most watched channel for movies. Among HD networks, respondents said Discovery HD Theater had the best picture, followed by CBS and NBC, which were tied for second.

“Nielsen’s High Definition Survey shows that HD technology is outpacing content, although a few networks do score high in consumer satisfaction,” said Steve McGowan, Nielsen Senior Vice President Client Research Initiatives. “Television owners clearly feel that HD viewing is a more intense experience than standard television and there are early indications that the acquisition of an HD television can, initially at least, stimulate the type of television that is viewed.”