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Consumers aware of HDTV, but confused

Boston, MA New CTAM research indicates that 60.3% of consumers are aware of high-definition television on an unaided basis, according to a survey of almost 1,500 U.S. adults. The CTAM Pulse, "I've Heard of It, But What Is It?," examines consumer awareness of HDTV, its perceived benefits and consumers' willingness to purchase HDTV equipment.

While many consumers are aware of HDTV, they are confused about how HDTV is delivered to the home and what equipment is needed. Indeed, 49.8% of consumers said they "didn't know" how the signal was delivered. Of the remainder, 21.3% of the consumers surveyed said that to the best of their knowledge, HDTV signals are delivered to the home from a cable TV provider; 21.4% said by a satellite provider; only 7% said by using an over-the-air antenna.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers do not know if any new equipment would be necessary to watch high-definition television. Awareness of the need for an HDTV receiver or a digital converter/set top box is highest among those who have actually seen HDTV 28.6%. Satellite (27.8%) and digital cable customers (26.3%) also have better awareness of the need for new equipment than the general population (23.2%).

Some additional highlights include:

About half (49.3%) of the customers who are aware of HDTV have seen it displayed the vast majority in a retail environment.

Once people see HDTV, they have a better understanding of the product's features and benefits. While more than half (58.1%) of consumers who have seen HDTV find its better picture quality appealing, less than half (24.8%) who have not experienced HDTV find the attribute appealing.

A majority of consumers (52.7%) believes that a high-definition television set costs under $2,000. Only slightly more than one in 10 (11.6%) say they are "very" or "somewhat likely" to buy an HDTV set in the next year. Meanwhile, four out of five consumers (81.3%) say they are "very unlikely" or "somewhat unlikely" to buy an HDTV set in the next year.

The Pulse is an ongoing research series focusing on key consumer issues in the cable and telecommunications industry, conducted by CENTRISSM (Communications, Entertainment and Technology Research and Information Service). The Pulse provides members with practical consumer insights and tactical information, based on telephone surveys of consumers nationwide.

This research is based on a telephone survey conducted by CENTRIS as part of their Access survey from June 6th to 16th. The study surveyed 1,474 respondents, among them 1,058 were aware of HDTV, 874 are cable subscribers, and 303 are satellite customers. Margin of error for the 1,058 respondents is +/- 3.1%. The data has been weighted to reflect the U.S. population 18 years of age and older.

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