Sharper Images Drive HD Sales: Magid Survey


Consumers may be buying HDTV sets, but they are buying them for sharp pictures, not because they think there is something compelling to watch that is only available in the high-definition format, according to new research from Frank N. Magid Associates.

The research, “Consumers and High Definition Television: Attitudes, Awareness and Usage,” found that 13% of consumers said they are very likely to buy an HD set over the next 12 months. In 2006, only 9% said they were thinking of buying an HD set. Another 12% of respondents said they were shopping for a TV but unsure whether they would buy an HD set.

The Magid report concludes that, in spite of the cost of an HD set, consumers don't have high expectations for it: if a picture on the new set fills the screen and looks markedly better than the set it’s replacing, they are happy.

Although consumers are shopping for HD hardware, their plans for enhanced content are “modest,” the report said. There's no consumer buzz out there regarding specific content. Only 14% of current HD owners buy HD content from cable and satellite providers, according to this study, while 6% own the set and don’t purchase any HD programming. Programming non-buyers tend to be younger, lower income households, according to the study.

And there's still a big nut to crack as far as broader acceptance of HD: The Magid study said 56% of TV households feel they've already invested all that's necessary for TV enjoyment by buying a regular TV and watching broadcast television. Of that group, 25% assert they'll never replace their current TVs.

The company's first study was conducted in 1999, setting a baseline for growth projections. This year's study included a nationally representative sample of 405 HD viewers and 203 HD set owners that don't buy HD content.