Joseph O'Halloran ©RapidTVNews | 25-08-2011

Fast penetration of HD with, 94% of UK households will be HDTV-ready by 2016, is driving the UK towards the next generation of super HD viewing.

Such a penetration, says the latest forecasts from Informa Telecoms & Media (, is world class, and is almost double the global average of 48% and compares well with the leaders Canada and New Zealand each of which boasts 95% HD household readiness.

As a further extent of just fast such markets are growing, the analyst notes that only recently as 2005, HDTV-ready sets were present in just 3% of the world's TV households and that HD set sales are growing rapidly with a net 60 million households forecast likely to be added in 2011 alone. The outcome should be that nearly a quarter (23%) of the world's primary TV sets will be HD-ready by the end of 2011. "Owning an HD-ready set does not, of course, automatically mean reception of HD programming. But, by 2016, 70% of the world's homes with HD sets are forecast to be using them to watch HD programs," explained Adam Thomas, Informa's Media Research Manager. "Again, the UK is ahead of the game, with 72% of HD-ready homes expected to watch HD programming by 2016." However, the analyst warns that by this time the UK will be well behind the global leader for HD programming consumption, the US, which will boast at 91%.

Thomas attributes the UK lag to the popularity of Freeview which is forecast to have only around half of its users watching HD programming by 2016. According to the data, by the end of 2016 TV services in several countries will be approaching the point where most, if not all, of their users are watching HD content.

This suggests Thomas, could drive a second wave of switchovers after 2016, with standard definition being switched off and HD effectively becoming the new standard definition. "The extra capacity freed up by such a move would then raise the possibility of another generation of SuperHD appearing, which would offer an enhancement to what will, by then, have become standard HD, " he postulated.