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One-third of U.S. households own HDTVS, says Nielsen report

One-third of U.S. homes have an HDTV as of February, up from 19.8 percent the year before, according to a report released in mid-May by Nielsen.

The report, “HDTV: The Picture is Getting Clearer,” also reveals that a gap remains between the percentage of homes with HDTVs and those that also are actually receiving HD programming — 33.3 percent versus 28 percent. According to the research and ratings organization, consumer confusion and a reluctance to pay an increased monthly fee for HD are mainly responsible for the discrepancy.

Households with HDTVs overwhelmingly locate them in a common area within the home, such as a living room, the report said. As of February, 62.7 percent located their HDTV in a common area. However, Nielsen’s research found that two-thirds of those asked located their most recently purchased HDTV in a common area, down from 74.2 percent one year prior, suggesting more HD sets are being purchased for other areas of the household.

According to the report, 54 percent of TV peripherals, such as DVRs, VCRs, DVD players game consoles, were attached to the television in the common household area. HDTVs had more peripherals attached than SD sets, 1.7 vs. 1.2, the report said.

Specifically, the report compared the percentage of various types of peripherals attached to HD and SD sets. It found 36 percent of HDTVs had DVRs attached vs. 10.6 percent of SD sets; VCRs, 35.8 percent of SD sets vs. 30.2 percent of HD sets; DVD players, 70.7 percent of HDTVs vs. 51 percent of SD sets; and game consoles, 30.6 percent of HDTVs vs. 19.9 percent of SD sets.

The report also forecasts that HD “is on course to become the benchmark in television viewing.” The nation’s current economic travails don’t appear to be diminishing the uptake of HDTVs among consumers and may actually accelerate it by exerting downward price pressure on the sets, the report said.

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.