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Survey: HD to Reach 44 Million Homes Globally by Year’s End

HD television in one form or another will be seen in 44 million homes around the world by the end of 2008, with HD homes rising to nearly 180 million globally by 2012, according to a new study. If accurate, those are not highly impressive numbers; currently there are nearly 114 million TV homes in the United States alone.

According to a forecast from Informa Telecoms & Media, based in London, only about 4 percent of worldwide households will “actively watch HD programming” by the end of the year—up from 2 percent at the end of 2007.

Simon Murray, principal media analyst at Informa, said HD uptake has been highest in North America, partly because of lower-priced equipment and a greater amount of content, but “also because the picture and audio quality of standard definition programming is relatively poor.”

The survey found that once at least 20 HD channels are available to a cable or DBS subscriber, HD viewing rises substantially. By 2012, Informa expects to see 179 million “active HD homes,” which it said would be about 16 percent of all TV households worldwide.