Half Of America Now Watching HDTV While SD Viewing Slides

The Internet is widely projected to reach a saturation point in developing nations years before the color television did so last century, but the TV isn't done breaking records and wowing consumers yet. The device that still provides millions of viewers with an outlet for entertainment and a view to the outside world has evolved nicely over the years, and while we're still not sure if 3D HDTVs have what it takes to revolutionize the television landscape once more, there's no doubt at all that high-definition has made, and continues to make, a huge impact.

According to a new report listed at the New York Times, "half of the United States is now watching television in high definition, the fastest adoption of TV technology since the VCR hit store shelves in the 1980s." You read that correctly: 50% of America now watches TV in HD. HDTVs weren't even widely available too many years ago, and HD service was largely restricted to the main OTA networks and a handful of early adopting channels like ESPN. Today, over a hundred HD channels exist, and that number shows no sign of becoming stagnant. According to The Nielsen Company, "high-definition households watch about 3% more prime-time programming than their standard-definition counterparts." Imagine that--HD makes people want to watch more!

But this also has another effect: HD makes people less likely to watch SD. Once you've seen a sporting event in glorious high-def, it's hard to watch one in standard-def. This fact is forcing channels to upgrade their equipment for fear of losing viewers; these days, not having a show in HD is almost unforgivable, and since so many channels have already upgraded, most consumers simply assume that HD is the new norm.

Are you in that 50%? Still waiting to upgrade? Do you watch any SD content now that you have HD?