Price not programming motivates more HDTV purchases, survey says

What’s the biggest motivation consumers can have to buy an HDTV: the Super Bowl, the Olympics or big TV events like the Academy Awards? Actually, it’s none of the above, according to the results of a Retrevo Pulse Report survey released earlier this month.

The study of more than 600 randomly selected U.S. users of online electronics marketplace Retrevo found that 75 percent of respondents said a great price or deal is more likely to motivate an HDTV purchase than any big programming event.

Of the 25 percent who said a big event would motivate an HDTV purchase, 11 percent cited the Super Bowl as propelling the decision to buy, followed by the Olympics at 10 percent and other events like the Academy Awards at 4 percent.

The survey also found a lack of knowledge among a significant number of respondents regarding the availability of the ongoing Vancouver Olympic Games in HD. When asked whether they would be able to watch the games in HD, 47 percent did not know. That compares to 38 percent who knew they could receive HD Olympics coverage via their cable or satellite service and 7 percent who planned on tuning in an over-the-air channel to watch the games in HD. Five percent knew they would not be able to get the Olympics in HD, and 1 percent said they planned to switch services to receive HD coverage of the games, the survey said.

Respondents didn’t give NBC much to cheer about when it comes to the effort it puts into miking, mixing and delivering 5.1 surround-sound audio of the Olympics and other sporting events. Half of the respondents to the survey said they didn’t care about the surround mix of the Olympics, and they don’t have a 5.1 surround system to enjoy it. Nineteen percent said they owned a surround system and planned to listen to the Olympics in 5.1 surround sound; 31 percent said they owned a 5.1 surround-sound system, but were unaware of 5.1 audio coverage of the Olympics.

The survey was conducted in January and has a confidence interval of 4 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.