Survey: Majority of U.S. Homes Now Have HD

It's been a long time coming (nearly 11 years since "The Tonight Show" on NBC first went 1080i) but a new survey finds that for the first time more than half of all American homes own at least one HD television set.

But despite the new sets' physical presence in living rooms, a sizeable chunk of HD owners still are not viewing HD content (either on purpose or unknowingly). How big a chunk? More than 30 percent, says this latest study, which actually is a big improvement.

According to the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, about 53 percent of U.S. households currently own one or more HD screens, despite a nasty recession, no doubt thanks to falling price points. If accurate, that jump to more than half of all homes compares to only 35 percent penetration, estimated by several other surveys (including the CEA) only a year ago.

The jump in HD sets in the home also corresponds with an increase in typical screen size to larger units. Nearly 60 percent of dwellings have sets at least 32 inches diagonally — compared to about 44 percent two years ago, according to CTAM.

More than two-thirds of those HD consumers surveyed (69 percent) now subscribe to an actual HD programming source — a jump of about 13 percent over last year. (The survey apparently did not take into account that "non-subscriber" source of HD reception: terrestrial broadcast!)