New Set Buyers Believe HD Signals Come With DTV Transition: Magid Survey

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New buyers of high-definition TVs still are laboring under the misperception that the sets will deliver enhanced signals along with the digital TV transition next year, or feel they can't afford HD subscriptions after the initial outlay for the television, according to a newly released survey from Frank N. Magid Associates.

Among the 12 % of U.S. households who purchased an HD set in the last year, 41% still need to acquire an HD service from cable or satellite companies. By comparison, 80% of homes who have owned an HD set for a longer period, now receive some HD signal source, according to the poll. Moreover, the majority of these homes have taken steps to prepare for the Feb.17 digital TV transition.

"We believe that many of these HD service rejecters believe they will automatically start receiving their programming in high-definition concurrent with the digital broadcast transition, which of course, is an incorrect notion," said Maryann Baldwin, vice president, Magid Media Futures.

Because of this misperception, cable and satellite operators have a business opportunity and should anticipate a rush in HDTV orders concurrent with the transition next year, the research firm said.

When asked if they have researched their HDTV source options, 43% of new owners said they have not looked into buying programming from any provider. More had considered cable: 39% said they had researched their local provider as a signal source, while 19% looked at direct-broadcast satellite options. Asked about their intent to actually purchase, 22% said they'd buy from cable and 16% said they'd sign up for DBS within the next six months.

Price is also an issue for rejecters: 44% said HDTV channels are not worth the fee; 30% said they don't have the budget for programming after paying the price of the set; and 18% said there aren't enough HDTV channels to justify the programming investment.