Cable Operators

HDTV, DVRs Go Together

1/06/2006 7:00 PM Eastern

There is a close correlation between digital video recorders and HDTV sets in consumer homes, according to recent consumer research by Frank N. Magid Associates aimed at helping cable and satellite-TV providers cross-sell both products.

Some 40% of HD homes have DVRs, and 62% record HD programs regularly, Magid found in an online study conducted in late September, vice president of entertainment Jill Rosengard says.

Magid drew responses from 1,241 adults, including 427 who owned an HDTV set.

Magid released parts of the survey to Multichannel News, with the full survey going to its paid clients.

Extrapolating the data to nationwide statistics, nearly 10 million HDTV homes, about 4 million of the nation’s 10 million DVRs could be in HDTV homes, Rosengard says.

Twinning the two technologies makes sense for consumers. Still, 38% weren’t using the DVRs to record HD programming.

One reason is that HDTV lineups account for less than 10% of all signals. “And consumers know [HD shows are] a bandwidth hog,” Rosengard says, taking up space on the DVR’s hard drive. “It’s got to be pretty special programming to put it on the DVR.”

But the study found HD homes without DVRs were in no rush to get them. Only 19% of HD homes that didn’t have a DVR were found highly likely to get a DVR.

DVR awareness continues to grow strongly among DBS and cable homes, Magid found, with 73% of satellite customers aware of DVR and 33% using a DVR, compared with 66% and 24% in 2004.

Cable awareness in DVRs shot up to 54% in 2005, compared to 37% in 2004. Over the same periods, DVR usage climbed from 9% to 16% over that time.

In fact, more cable subscribers (35%) expressed an interest in DVR in 2005 than in digital cable phone (19%).

As a side note, 67% of HD viewers expressed interest in watching HD on-demand content, with women (72%) and consumers in the 45-to-54 age bracket (74%) showing even higher interest in on-demand, HD shows.

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