Germans interested, but confused about HDTV

Jörn Krieger

Germans are interested in high definition television, but many uncertainties still exist regarding the technical requirements, a new survey by TNS Convergence Monitor has found.

According to the survey, 73% say they are familiar with the term HDTV while 20% have already actively informed themselves about the new TV technology. And while 33% of households – significantly more than 2008 (21%) – have a modern flat-screen television set which with high probability is HDTV compatible, only 7% of viewers are prepared to pay extra for channels in HD quality.

“The reason HDTV has so far not developed as a propeller for the sale of new devices and content in HD is mainly due to the limited information available to consumers regarding the requirements and advantages of this technology,” said Wolfgang Werres, managing director of TNS Infratest MediaResearch and member of the TNS Convergence Group. “Many believe that with the purchase of an LCD or plasma television set they will be able to experience the improved picture quality of HDTV – without knowing that so far hardly any television programmes are screened in HD quality or that an HD receiver is necessary for reception.”

With ARTE HD, Anixe HD and Luxe.TV HD as well as the Sky HD package there are already some German-language HDTV channels on offer. Public broadcasters ARD and ZDF, which are currently transmitting an HDTV showcase of the World Championships in Athletics, will commence regular high definition transmissions in time for the start of the Winter Olympics in February 2010. Commercial broadcasters RTL, Sat.1, ProSieben, VOX and kabel eins are currently preparing their HDTV entrance, but their offers will be available only on satellite operator SES Astra’s encrypted platform HD+ for which viewers will have to pay reception fees.

The survey was compiled by market researcher TNS Convergence Group, with 1,513 people aged between 14 and 64 years surveyed.