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The number of HDTVs installed globally is set to sharply increase within the next four years

The obsession with HDTVs shows no sign of stopping according to study put out by Informa Telecoms and Media. Low pricing is seen as the key reason for the swift move by consumers to incorporate HDTVs into their homes. HD picture quality, sleek designs and the ability to mount them on walls doesn't hurt either.

The number of households worldwide with HDTVs is expected to jump from the current install base of 48 million to 151 million in 2011. Still, 151 million HDTV sets is a far cry from the current 1.2 billion SDTVs currently in service around the globe.

The study also showed that the United States and Japan are the biggest purchasers of HDTV taking in 58% and 20% respectively of the global market.

But while pricing is definitely a big factor in getting customers to make the switch to HDTVs, the pay off still isn't there for many customers. HD programming still comes up short for many people, be it over the air (OTA) or through a cable/satellite provider.

"I paid $1,399 for my HD television, $99 for an upgraded receiver, $110 for the proper cables and an extra $10 a month to a satellite provider that offers me more than 200 channels -- and only 12 of those are in HD. That's 6 percent," said Howard Bryant of The Washington Post. "The other 94 percent of programming is in the regular 4:3 format, the same as the square of your grandfather's regular old TV. That leaves six inches shaded in on the left and right of my screen because most channels are not HD-ready."

Hopefully, things will get better for owners of HDTVs between now and February 17, 2009. On that date, all OTA analog TV broadcasting will cease and OTA DTV broadcasts will rule the airwaves. The FCC is hoping to ease the transition period by mandating that all televisions produced after March 1, 2007 have a built-in HDTV/DTV tuner.

Likewise, the government has set aside $1.5 billion USD to subsidize the cost of "DTV Broadcast Converter" boxes for those still using SDTVs. Consumers will be able to apply up to two coupons per household (valued at $40 each) towards the purchase of a DTV Broadcast Converter starting on January 1, 2008. The program will end on March 31, 2009.

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No HD?
By nomagic on 2/12/2007 12:14:58 PM , Rating: 2
According to a survey from the Cable & Telecommunications Association, only 52 percent of HDTV owners are actually watching high-def channels. A lot of the TVs purchased recently are HD-capable, but many of them don't play HD contents due to the lack of services and equipments such as tuner, HD receiver, cable, Bluray player, HD-DVD player, and etc. These equipment can be expensive, but a HDTV owner can probably afford those, so price is less of a problem. I guess people just dont care about HD contents.

RE: No HD?
By bplewis24 on 2/12/2007 12:52:50 PM , Rating: 3
A lot of the TVs purchased recently are HD-capable, but many of them don't play HD contents due to the lack of services and equipments

It's not just that they don't have the services and equipment. A good percentage of HDTV owners don't even realize that they need HD content to fully take advantage of their HD displays. For example my grandparents and a friend of mine (both who have had flat panel plasmas for over a year) didn't realize how much better their TV is supposed to look with HD content. They simply watch stretched SD TV shows and SD-DVD content assuming it is better than what they would be seeing on an SD TV.


RE: No HD?
By darkpaw on 2/12/2007 3:01:05 PM , Rating: 2
I just picked up an HD TV at Costco this weekend and was talking to the guy while waiting for them to pick the model I wanted off the pallet shelving. They have signs up about every 10 feet in the HD section (and most the boxes have giant labels on them as well) telling people exactly this. I guess they've had a lot of HDTV's returned by morons that thought they would automatically get better pictures using it.

Was kinda peeved though that the damn TV didn't include an HDMI cable for my cable box. The $70 DVD player I have came with one, but not the $900 TV. Sure wasn't going to pay $50 for one at the store either when I can get one for $10 shipped online. The markup on retail cables is as bad or worse then retail clothes. Just wish all cables were as easy to make yourself as ethernet.

RE: No HD?
By alifbaa on 2/12/2007 5:13:13 PM , Rating: 2
You can thank DRM for your HDMI cables that can't be made by you and can't be run through walls.

RE: No HD?
By masher2 on 2/12/2007 7:39:56 PM , Rating: 2
> "You can thank DRM for your HDMI cables that can't be made by you and can't be run through walls..."

Err, I have two HDMI cables run through the walls in my media room.

RE: No HD?
By darkpaw on 2/13/2007 8:50:55 AM , Rating: 2
He's probably referring to code issues. Sure you 'can' run the cable through the wall anyways, but only plenum (sp?) cables are supposed to be used inside walls.

Thats my understanding of the issue at least. I always had a contractor to do any in wall installs when I did ethernet installation since I did not have any proper training or insurance for that kind of work. I just made the shorter point-to-point cables myself.

RE: No HD?
By glennpratt on 2/13/2007 1:51:28 AM , Rating: 2
HDMI cables are just that. Copper wrapped in silicone rubber. I'm all for resisting DRM, but please, be educated about something before deciding to open your mouth and state an opinion on it.

RE: No HD?
By CupCak3 on 2/13/2007 9:28:57 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe you should educate yourself before trashing someone else's post. But either way, neither of you are entirely correct.

By code in most states (if not all), plenum cables are used for instalation in air handling systems. This is because plenum is fire retardent and gases from plenum cable are not as toxic as regular cable coverings.

At least in my state within normal walls, cables do not need a plenum covering so you can run HDMI cables through walls without codes issues.

RE: No HD?
By timmiser on 2/12/2007 6:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't expect audio or video cables to come with the TV because you shouldn't need it. Heck, you don't even get an RCA cable with a TV. The cable company, HDDVD/BD, PS3, etc is who should be including the HDMI cables.

...Now paying $300 for a TV stand...That's another story!!

Lost credibility
By Rage187 on 2/12/2007 11:52:54 AM , Rating: 3
"$110 for the proper cables"

I stopped reading right after that.

RE: Lost credibility
By Brandon Hill on 2/12/2007 11:57:46 AM , Rating: 3
I had to laugh at myself at that part of the quote as well. The thought of being "pressured" into purchasing Monster Cables at Best Buy raced through my mind :-)

However, he does have a point. HDTVs are selling at a rather brisk pace, but HDTV programming is still subpar at best.

RE: Lost credibility
By Aikouka on 2/12/2007 12:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like I'm not the only one who noticed ;).

I've seen salesmen try to push these cables on poor consumers who don't know better... but I've never really said anything to try to persuade them not to buy them. Have you ever tried to stop a consumer from literally paying 10x more than they need to for a cable?

He may have a point about the HD programming, but to talk about his "bars", you can still stretch the picture (on a decent HDTV at least...) to fit the entire screen. It may sound like it'll be poor, but my mom couldn't stand the bars on her 42" plasma for standard DirecTV so I changed it to stretched. It doesn't really look that bad, so it may just be related to brand (the aforementioned plasma being a Samsung).

RE: Lost credibility
By CascadingDarkness on 2/12/2007 5:40:22 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly right on bars. Comes down to how manu. configures the size change. Some just out right stretch to 16:9. Others just zoom and crop top and bottom. I prefer my Sony that does a little of both (also gives you option of just one), and keeps most of the stretching to the edges. You only really notice when you see someone/thing right near edge. Most good manufacturers offer these smart zooms, but beware if you buy a cheap tv as it may be really awful to look at in 16:9.

That said, nothing is better than a true HD signal in 16:9. I don't have any HD channels, but that hasn't stopped me from watching lots of HD content (PC, DVD).

By Scorpion on 2/12/2007 12:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
Hmmm well surely this has NOTHING to do with the U.S. government effectively mandating a switch to HDTV broadcasts over the same time period...

Call me crazy, but a report like this seems rather obvious. I think it's safe to say that the U.S. has the highest TV viewing population of any country. Therefore forcing TVs to be sold in the US with HD Tuners in them will certainly increase the overall number of HDTVs globally.

Now my question is how much HDTV content will increase over the next four years. How much will media corporations and cable companies (and satellite) increase the HD content offered. Right now in my area I get a very limited selection of HD channels. (I think somewhere around 8 channels, 4 being the major networks)

RE: Obvious?
By Brandon Hill on 2/12/2007 12:05:11 PM , Rating: 2
I can pick up roughly 22 OTA HD signals with antenna.

Of those channels that I can pickup, only four broadcast HD content: ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS. And of those four, HD content is only provided typically during primetime (and even then, not all shows are in HD).

RE: Obvious?
By Brandon Hill on 2/12/2007 12:06:16 PM , Rating: 2
**Edit** That should read "22 OTA DTV signals"

RE: Obvious?
By Houdani on 2/12/2007 1:00:40 PM , Rating: 2
The U.S. government isn't mandating HD broadcasts for OTA content ... just digital broadcasts.

While this doesn't explicitely imply that the digital broadcasts will be hi-def, it does provide a good crossover point for broadcasters to get off their duffs and increase the amount of HD content they make available.

RE: Obvious?
By timmiser on 2/12/2007 6:34:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the cable or Satellite companies that are responsible for the few HD channel choices, it is up to each individual network/show.

What gets me is I can't believe that the TV show Survivor still does not come in HD! With all their tropical locations and scenery, that would be the perfect show to showcase HD.

DirecTV HD
By Oregonian2 on 2/12/2007 2:50:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm still on the sidelines, been waiting for 1080p "full HD" Plasma's to come out (or maybe the laser ones if they don't take too long) to try and get the best quality movies the spec will allow -- seeing as how I'd expect to have the set for at least 10 years. They're just coming out now, but are at $5K thereabouts. Need to wait another year or two for the making of those to mature into better quality as well as lower prices.

However, we use DirecTV for SD TV now. They've been advertising that they're going to increase their HD broadcasting tremendously with the launch of two new satellites that are going up this year. Don't know what it is they're up to regarding content of that increased bandwidth, but there's at least possibilities for increased content coming up before long.

RE: DirecTV HD
By alifbaa on 2/12/2007 5:25:04 PM , Rating: 2
They'll undoubtedly have some better HD content, but nothing that won't be mirrored by Dish, your cable company, or the new FIOS stuff that's coming out. I don't understand why a company advertising a capability to provide a better service without the actual provision of better service is supposed to get me excited to be locked in to a high-priced contract and wait for them to get around to doing a better job!

As for your 1080/Laser TV wait, I wouldn't wait on laser. You'll be waiting another 4-5 years for those sets to become available and reasonably priced. For 1080, if you are getting a TV above 50", I would wait. That seems to be what the online consensus is. I just bought the Pioneer PDP-5070HD (50" plasma) three weeks ago, and the picture is fabulous displaying 1080i/720p at 762x1355 or something like that. If you go with a non 1080 set, just make sure the HDMIs can take in 1080P, because then you can get proggressive pictures at higher than 720P resolutions without extra processing. The result will be a better picture. Also, stay away from 8 bit video processors. Samsung tries to slip that in on their cablecardless DLPs. Your picture will suffer without 10 bit. I had been waiting for 1080 just like you, but I couldn't take my 20" TV any more. I managed to wait almost three years, but I just flat ran out of patience. Like I said, I had planned on waiting another year or two until better HD content came out, but I am extremely happy with my purchase.

Hope this helps!

RE: DirecTV HD
By Oregonian2 on 2/12/2007 8:53:21 PM , Rating: 2
As to DirecTV, they're advertising they'll have three times the HD bandwidth available than any cable system. As to FIOS, I can hope for that one. Their installers putting in the underground tubing that holds the fiber stopped about a hundred yards from our house last fall, and then turned up a side street. Hopefully within the next few years they'll finish going in my direction again (suburban neighborhood) rather than just teasing me.

Thanks for your suggestions about the TV. We've a roughly ten+ year old 32" Sony XBR TV for our "main" one. Showing it's age, but so long as it keeps working, we can hold out waiting. We're too poor to buy cheap stuff -- we go the inexpensive route and buy as good a quality we can, then keep it for a long time.

RE: DirecTV HD
By CascadingDarkness on 2/12/2007 5:58:25 PM , Rating: 2
The waiting game is just that. I'd say your right at it being two years for the "true" 1080 plasmas to some down (you'll likely be watching 1080i, no p like you mentioned). But by that time if you can wait another 2 years SEDs will be coming out (hopefully), but I'm sure new tech variable: not found will be way better and only be 2 years after that.

The point is, while everyone is crazy about 1080 your not going to see that broadcast anytime soon, you will only see it on your new blu-ray/HD-DVD player. If your just going to watch normal channels go for a good 720p box now. The tech waiting game will keep you waiting forever.

RE: DirecTV HD
By Oregonian2 on 2/12/2007 9:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the technology that I'm waiting for so much as waiting for the "true/optical" resolution of the set to match that of the specs. The specs aren't likely to change anytime soon (took over half a century for the last change) so I'd like the set to be able to handle the full spec resolution during the lifetime of the set itself - which I intend to be at least 10 years. So even if my ability to use the full resolution may be limited currently, there's at least ten years for that to change, and I won't be buying yet another one in the meanwhile (at least not the 50" or bigger the initial one will be). We're too poor to buy temporary solutions, only to have to buy yet another one before long. There's a rumor that the laser ones will be coming out before too long, and they were being touted as being low'ish priced -- as well as being very bright and having a large gamut. But it's the resolution that I'm waiting for, and I like plasma's for their tonality and dark darks (and lack of motion rainbows). Movies and the like are our main target. There are ones out that would be fine, but they're a bit spendy as well as being brand new technology (I understand the cells had to be redesigned for the higher density, so their reliability and performance may need time to be proven -- and prices dropped).

Not just TV
By Aikouka on 2/12/2007 11:59:15 AM , Rating: 2
"I paid $1,399 for my HD television, $99 for an upgraded receiver, $110 for the proper cables and an extra $10 a month to a satellite provider that offers me more than 200 channels -- and only 12 of those are in HD. That's 6 percent,"

It sounds like someone was hit by the 'Monster bullet' ;).

I think it's fair to also mention that not only television is a driving factor in HDTV sales, but also video game consoles. Both the XBOX 360 and PS3 support HD resolutions (Wii supports up to 480p (EDTV) via component cables) and I believe that any gamer who has used both a SDTV/EDTV and a HDTV will tell you which one he found superior (and I would place money on it being the latter). I've played on both and there's definitely a difference... enough to warrant a new TV purchase? I think you could (providing sufficient funds)... especially when you can pick up a decent HDTV for nearly $1000, a investment similar to the $600+ you spend on a console, games and accessories.

RE: Not just TV
By Oregonian2 on 2/12/2007 2:42:25 PM , Rating: 2
And if one really wants to have lots of nice
cables, one can get'm for a LOT less than those
monster (margin heaven) cables at places like this
one that's about a five minute drive for me, but does
internet sales as well (I buy cables there all the

hdmi cable page:

home page:

RE: Not just TV
By darkpaw on 2/12/2007 3:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the link, their prices are pretty decent.

RE: Not just TV
By Oregonian2 on 2/12/2007 8:37:30 PM , Rating: 2
Yes. Even cheaper when I buy in the store (same as web prices). No shipping, and no sales tax (Oregon).

Get Dish for HD
By timmiser on 2/12/2007 6:41:22 PM , Rating: 2
"I paid $1,399 for my HD television, $99 for an upgraded receiver, $110 for the proper cables and an extra $10 a month to a satellite provider that offers me more than 200 channels -- and only 12 of those are in HD. That's 6 percent," said Howard Bryant

Obviously the guy has DirecTV service. If you have want the best in HD channel selection, DishTV is the only way to go because they have all of the awesome Voom HD channels in addition to the usual HD selections.

RE: Get Dish for HD
By CupCak3 on 2/13/2007 9:32:39 AM , Rating: 2
actually Direct TV has went on record saying they will have 100 HD channels by the end of this year.

I have not heard anything close to that for Dish.

Though I am a Dish subscriber, as long as they get USA, SciFi and Bravo in HD, I won't worry about switching to DirectTV since their lineup offers most channels my wife and I watch in HD.

RE: Get Dish for HD
By timmiser on 2/13/2007 1:30:26 PM , Rating: 2
It's not up to Dish or DirecTV, it's up to Bravo, USA, SciFi, etc. to start broadcasting in HD. As of now, you've got TNT, ESPN1/2; Discovery, Food, National Geographic, (and maybe a few others I can't think of off the top of my head), along with the major network channels that broadcast in HD and cable, Dish, and DirecTV all carry those in HD.

The difference with Dish, is they have their own exclusive networks that broadcast in HD only: Equator, Rave, HDNews, etc. (About 15-20 channels!)

That is what seperates Dish from the others. They have these channels because they bought VoomHD networks and brought Voom's channels over to their network.

RE: Get Dish for HD
By timmiser on 2/16/2007 4:42:26 AM , Rating: 2
You might also want to re-check that DirecTV quote about their upcoming HD.

They use the word "Capability" meaning that they will still need to wait like the rest of us for all those channels to switch to HD.

HD What?
By bldckstark on 2/12/2007 12:34:35 PM , Rating: 2
I watched the super bowl in HD, and 2 days ago saw Nascar in HD. I have had my TV for almost a year, and I have watched TWO shows in that entire time. I have a dish and a 360 HD-DVD player. I only change to OTA when checking weather or there is specifically a HD show I want to watch.

On HD content - My wife and I watch Friday Night Lights. The cinematography used is that of a handheld camcorder. This is, apparently, to make it more realistic. You know, like your Uncle Larry was standing there taping everybody. They broadcast that show in HD. The worst possible picture they can come up with, and they show it in HD. It looked better on the dish so I switched back to watch it there, which is why it's not listed above.

By psychobriggsy on 2/12/2007 12:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
Issue One: Lack of widescreen programming, even in standard definition.

In Europe many of the standard definition digital satellite TV channels (i.e., 98% of channels are SD PAL) are broadcast in widescreen (including esoteric channels like Scuzz, a heavy metal music channel). This means that uptake of widescreen in Europe is getting on for 10 years now, and I'd hazard a guess that the majority of people who get satellite/digital cable will have a widescreen TV, even if it is an old CRT.

Issue Two: Lack of HD programming

Yeah, this will take some time because of the equipment costs, apart from sports, nature and certain shows.

Normally people have the braindump of widescreen=digital=HDTV, which at least seems to have been avoided this time around. Plenty of widescreen analogue broadcasts, Japan used to have analogue HDTV, and digital is mostly SDTV.

Freudian slip?
By JustKidding on 2/12/2007 1:44:26 PM , Rating: 2
Triple penetration? I wonder what someone is viewing on HDTV. :P

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