HDTV now in 1/3rd US homes

With just three months to go, the message that US broadcasters are about to switch off their analogue transmissions seems – at long last – to be getting through to US consumers.

The latest data suggests that more than one third of all US homes now have at least one HDTV set installed. Analogue switch off occurs (for broadcast stations) on Feb 17 2009.

Leichtman Research Group says it found that 34% of households in the US have at least one HDTV set – approximately double the percentage of households that had an HDTV set two years ago. “The growth of HDTV sets was largely driven by on-going consumer purchasing of TV sets coupled with a dwindling supply of lower-end non-HDTV sets being sold. Overall, 22% of all households purchased a new TV set in the past 12 months, with 43% of this group spending over $1,000 on a new TV,” says Leichtman, which interviewed 1302 homes, and is their 6th annual study of the HD market.

Other findings showed:
• Combined, 38% of HD owners say that replacing an old/broken set or wanting to buy a new TV set was the most important reason for getting their HDTV – compared to 22% citing picture quality, and 7% the quality of HD programming or the number of HD channels
• 44% with annual household incomes over $50,000 have an HDTV compared to 20% with annual household incomes under $50,000
• 33% of HDTV owners have more than one HDTV set, and 25% are likely to get another HDTV set in the next year
• 9% of HD owners say that they switched multi-channel video providers when they purchased their HDTV
• 42% of HDTV owners say that they were told how to receive HD programming when they purchased their set

• LRG estimates that about 58% of all HD households are now watching HD programming from a multi-channel video provider – up from 53% last year. However, about 18% of individuals with an HDTV continue think that they are watching HD programming, but are not.