Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 22-08-2011

Falling equipment prices to affordable levels and increasing amounts of compelling content have driven HD uptake on a global basis.

In Global HDTV Forecasts to 2016 – 6th edition, Informa Telecoms & Media calculates that even though HDTV sets were present in just 3% of the world's TV households as recently as 2005, some 34 million active HD households will be added in 2011 bringing the total to 131 million and that this number will more than triple again by 2016.

The analyst boldly predicts that the growth has been so spectacular in certain territories that by end-2016 platforms in several countries will be approaching the point where most, if not all, users will be actively watching HD content. Informa says that this trend raises the prospect of another round of switchovers with HD becoming the norm and that the emerging UltraHD standard will serve as an enhancement.

HD is now a mass market proposition and the research states firmly that HD TV will not take off in a territory until the main free-to-air broadcasters become involved. Not surprisingly, major sports events, in particular the Olympics and World Cup football, are spurring free to air broadcasters to provide such offerings.

At present, North America currently ranks as the dominant HD region, accounting for two-thirds of 2010 HDTV totals but this figure will likely fall as other regions, notably Asia Pacific, catch up.