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Nielsen Plans to Measure HD Universe

Nielsen will start measuring the extent of hi-def penetration in November. The TV ratings firm said it would provide estimates for on the national and local level.

"What we are providing in November is the Universe estimate--how many homes have HD," said Nielsen spokesperson Laura James. "We're working with clients on the definition of HD; there's HD capable homes and HD receivable homes," i.e., households that may have an HD receiver but no HD service, versus those with both. "We're working with industry to decide which definition we're going to use. Once that happens, if you wanted to, you could then say, 'here's the HD universe as it's defined,' and do ratings off of that."

James said it was not yet possible to say when ratings could be extrapolated, "because we have minimum reporting standards." The Nielsen ratings sample now stands at more than 10,000 TV households; custom analysis is done from a subsample of 145 homes.

The HD universe classification would be similar to that of wired cable and other estimates that are updated four times a year, according to Nielsen. The classification process is expected to be completed by early 2008.