The HDTV business
is booming, and even though they aren't nearly as buzz-worthy as they once were, that's clearly not stopping consumers from picking them up. High-def sets have withstood the test of time thus far, with more and more consumers jumping at the chance to upgrade to a flat-panel as each year passes by. Huge events like the Super Bowl, World Cup and Olympics have a tendency to get people thinking about all that resolution they're missing out on, and evidently so does the massive amount of HD programming now available via pay-TV providers.
A new study by the Leichtman Research Group has found that "nearly 50% of U.S. households will own a HDTV by the end of the year." Just as a reminder, the end of the year is hours away, so this is basically saying that as of right now around half of Americans own at least one HDTV set. That's a pretty incredible figure when you step back and think about it. During the year in which we experienced the worst recession since the Great Depression, HDTV purchases have somehow crept up in order to bring the overall rate of ownership in the US to around 50%.
We've also noticed a continual uptick in the amount of available HD channels, though paying for them hasn't gotten any easier. Most major sporting events are now in HD, and it's tough to watch a broadcast drama without seeing each and every commercial in HD. In a way, HD has become "the norm
," and for many it's tough to even watch television in standard definition. One place where HD has yet to grab ahold is the Web. Sure, there's YouTube HD clips and "HD" versions of certain shows, but there's just not enough bandwidth in the average US home to really grab true HD clips. We're guessing that it's just a matter of time before that happens, and we don't suspect it'll take until the end of the next decade for HDTVs to reach a similar penetration rate as the DVD player. As for Blu-ray? Well, let's just say that has aways to go
before it catches the HDTV...