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TVB: One-in-Five HD Owners Aren’t Watching HD

It’s a quirky stat that’s been rumbling around in the industry since HD television sets in the American home began to gain some serious traction a few years ago: A lot of owners of HD sets (for a variety of reasons) continue to not watch any HD content from broadcast and cable channels.

The Television Bureau of Advertising’s most recent numbers on that seemingly illogical gap now rests at 22 percent.

Thus, better than one-in-five HD sets are not currently accessing HD content via terrestrial, cable, fiber optic or DBS. The latest TVB figures, reported this week by, are not broken down between viewers who consciously do not wish to pay for (or cannot afford) HD services or cannot receive them over-the-air, and those who simply are unaware that they are not watching HD channels (or simply don’t care).

Apart from the fact that 22 percent more households have HD displays than actually receive HD programming, high-def penetration (physical HD sets in the home) recently surpassed 46 percent of U.S. households, TVB says, while HD viewing was just under 36 percent. (The disparity in the gap is a result of displays without tuners.)