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Leichtman: Consumers Remain Confused About HDTV

About one-quarter of U.S. households have at least one TV set capable of receiving high-definition TV signals, essentially double the penetration of HDTV two years ago, yet consumer confusion related to HD programming and products remains strong, according to a recent study by Leichtman Research Group

While over three-quarters of HD set owners believe that they are watching enhanced format programming, Leichtman estimates that about 53% of those households are actually watching HD programming from a multi-channel video provider (cable, DBS or a telco). Another 4% are watching HD programming via broadcast-only. That leaves about 20% of those with HD sets erroneously thinking that they are watching HD programming when they are not.

Moreover, the study indicated that just 41% of HD set owners say that they were told how to receive HD programming when they purchased their set.

About 40% of HD owners, and over 20% of all adults, believe that their household currently has a HDTV DVD player – a figure that, if accurate, would represent a much greater total than the number of HDTV DVD players actually sold to date

The study results are based on a survey of 1,300 households throughout the United States, and are part of a new LRG study, HDTV 2007:  Consumer Awareness, Interest and Ownership.

Other findings include:

* The mean annual income of HDTV households is 27% above average;

* Among those watching HD fare, the mean time spent watching such programs is 45%

* About one-fifth of households, 17%, plan to purchase a new TV set in the next 12 months, and 47% of this group expects to spend over $1,000 on a TV set

“The number of households with an HDTV has significantly increased in recent years, and LRG forecasts that over 85 million U.S. households will have at least one HDTV by the end of 2012,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said in a statement.  “However, with the expansion of HDTV, there will need to be continued consumer education about high definition programming and products.”