Monday, April 28, 2008

HDTV: Who Knew Football Was SO Powerful?

The RetailBRIDGE cites a study that claims 5.5 million U.S. TV viewers purchased HDTVs during the holiday season and football's Superbowl in February 2008. To put this number in perspective, 28 million U.S. households in total own HDTVs. This means that 20% of the current HDTV population in the U.S. jumped on board during the Christmas season and Superbowl timeframe. Wow!

There are obviously other factors that come into play here: amazingly low prices during those few months (and even still today!), the upcoming FCC transition to all-digital TV, and growing consumer knowledge about HDTV overall. But a major surge in sales during those 3 months is great news for the industry; and just reinforces the importance of the holidays and sports. It's incredible when you think just how important gift-giving and sporting events are to the CE business.

The study, which was conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, reports that one-quarter of the U.S. population now owns an HDTV; and almost 10 million homes now have at least two HDTVs. 30 million Americans say they plan to buy an HDTV this year, and virtually all of them say they'll go HD.

As more and more consumers begin to understand HDTV, and the sources that are required to obtain content, the format is poised for major growth. When will we reach 100% penetration? Judging from the way things are going now, I think we'll get pretty darned close by 2009.

For those who aren't familiar with how to get HD, here's a quick recap of the requirements:

1) Buy an high-definition TV (720p, 1080i, or 1080p, with the latter being the "best" quality possible; but all three technically representing HD-quality)

2) Buy an HD source, like a cable or satellite set-top box, Blu-ray disc player, or Sony PlayStation 3.

3) To access high-definition programming via cable or satellite TV, contact your provider and subscribe to the high-definition channels you want. In most cases, the provider should have some sort of HD add-on pack that includes most, if not all, of the available high-def channels. If you want to watch a high-definition DVD, you must buy a Blu-ray disc and play it back in a Blu-ray player. If you buy a standard DVD movie, it will not become high-definition if you play it back in your Blu-ray player; although it will be upscaled to a better quality image.

That's it, and you're off to enjoying HD content in all its glory!

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