This is going to sound painfully familiar: While 90 percent of all Americans have "heard of" HDTV, less than half (47 percent) say they know "anything substantial" about it, and only 15 percent say they are "somewhat or very likely" to buy an HD set soon -- reflecting basically unchanged levels over the past year, according to market researcher Ipsos Insight.
In other words, despite a dramatic uptick in HD publicity in the mass media in North America in 2005, consumers obviously were not given enough specific information that they thought they needed in order to make such a major purchase.
The researcher says advertisers and marketers have to take the initiative to expand the base of consumers who understand HD's features and benefits, in order to convert them into real buyers. Ipso Insight said in a statement the number of people who are "substantially aware of HDTV" hasn't changed since 2004.
Although the researcher finds some degree of HD penetration growth in the U.S., post-holiday numbers may have leveled off for now at around 15-16 million households (albeit, with several million apparently, and unknowingly, not watching HD programming). While Ipso Insight sees this estimated penetration rate as still in the early adopter stage, it also views it as large enough to provide some serious momentum for a mainstream push, given enough consumer prompting.
A critical issue, says the researcher, is that although many consumers know HD exists, they haven't been convinced that it offers enough benefit to justify replacing their current analog sets. More than 4 out of 5 survey respondents familiar with HD recall having seen an ad for HDTV in the past month, and three-quarters of them have actually checked out HD sets at retailers.
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