HD Gains Consumer Focus, Few Buys

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American consumers are aware of high-definition TV, but relatively few are
buying into it, according to figures issued in a report by Dove Consulting.

The Boston-based consulting firm fielded an electronic-mail survey of U.S.
consumers, and of the 1,600-plus responses, it found that 81 percent were
familiar with HDTV.

But only 13 percent had bought HD-capable TVs, and only 6 percent purchased
HDTV sets in the past six months. About 7.6 percent of respondents were thinking
about buying HD sets in the next six months.

There were some interesting trends within the small number of HD-set owners,
according to the survey.

One-half of those who own HD sets subscribe to digital cable, compared with
just one-third of noncable customers. They also indicated higher interest in
video-on-demand and pay-per-view offerings, ordering 1.4 PPV programs compared
with 0.4 for non-HD-set owners.

They were also attracted by HD programming -- 32 percent said they would
consider switching video-service providers based on HD programming.

And they are willing to pay -- the Dove survey found that more than 75
percent of HD-set owners would be willing to pay a fee for an HD-programming
package. About 23 percent would be willing to pay $3 monthly for such a service,
while 21 percent would pay $10 or more.