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Sports events a driving factor behind HDTV sales  (Source: Vizio)
High-definition console owners makeup 18 percent of HDTV purchases

Most gamers tend to be early adopters of technology. Those who own an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 know full well that a high-definition television is required in order to appreciate the visuals of the latest games to their fullest.

It should surprise few then to learn that of all consumers who purchased an HDTV in the past year, 18 percent of those were gamers buying the set just to connect either an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.

As reported in findings from research firm Frank N. Magid Associates, 25 percent of U.S. households or 28 million now have at least one HDTV set, that up from a penetration of 20 percent in September 2007. 5.5 million homes introduced HDTV during the holiday and Super Bowl season. 3 million homes added  a second HDTV during the same period.

"Consumers who become accustomed to the sleek and contemporary appearance of their first HD set are now looking to bring that benefit into other rooms in their home," says Maryann Baldwin VP of Magid Media Futures.

While a growing number of homes may have televisions capable of displaying at least a 720p picture, some are still feeding their HDTVs standard definition signals. "However owning an HDTV set and actually viewing HD are still two very different pursuits for many," added Baldwin.

70 percent of HDTV owners have some form of access to high-definition content, while the remaining 30 percent cite costs and a limited number of channels available in high definition as reasons for not making the jump.

Three in ten households intends to purchase a new television, many of those HD capable, within the next year. Nearly a quarter of those who do not own an HDTV currently expressed that they feel it is important to be able to watch the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in high-definition.

Magid said that it conducted this online research among 1,235 consumers nationally representative of the U.S. online population, age 21 and over.

"Now that the early majority has joined the ranks of the HD adopters, the demographic makeup of the HD population is looking more like the overall U.S. TV viewing universe," says Jill Rosengard Hill, Magrid VP and managing director.

Product price and mass market adoption of HDTVs are inversely related. Thanks to value-oriented brands such as Vizio, which has overtaken traditional electronics giants such as Sony and Samsung in sales, consumers are finding the jump into high-definition more affordable than expected.

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By gigahertz20 on 4/25/2008 12:56:51 PM , Rating: 3
My roommates and I bought a $500 refurbished 720P 37" Vizio from Macmall last August for our apartment and I've been very impressed with the quality of HD channels. I've seen other $1,000 + HDTV sets and though they look a little better, for the price and quality you can't beat some of the Vizio sets. I just wish Comcast had more HD channels, and there were not as many issues like audio skipping and artifacting on the HD channels some of the times.

RE: Vizio
By Mitch101 on 4/25/2008 1:18:22 PM , Rating: 2
I was in Costo the other day and I have to say that the Vizio had the best picture of all the flat panels they had set up. Sony was the second best picture.

Of course this is out of the box uncalibrated in a very well lit building but considering most people will never calibrate their HDTV.

I would have bought it over all the others. Maybe some of the major brand companies should work on a little calibration of their products instead of rushing them out the door with contrast ratios set at the highest levels trying to out bright the set next to it.

RE: Vizio
By sc3252 on 4/25/2008 1:33:58 PM , Rating: 2
I bought a 37inch vizio a month or two ago. When I brought it home I found out that the picture quality for hd is great, but the black levels are terrible. I find that I am constantly calibrating the tv when I watch different types of movies, since the black level needs to be adjusted per movie. If you can deal with that it does have a very slight lag(only noticeable when you are moving the mouse, not gaming), but not enough to stop me from playing call of duty 4 from my computer.

RE: Vizio
By Noya on 4/25/2008 6:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
I also bought a Vizio about 6-months ago. Sears (gasp) had the 42" GV 1080p model on sale for $1k, less 10% with a Sears card, plus another $50 back from = $850. At the time all the name brands were at $1,400+ for a 40-42" 1080p model.

Sure, the blacks could be better (yes I calibrated it via AVSforums and DVE) but going from a flat 32" 4:3 CRT to this is a huge jump in size for widescreen material like DVD and HD channels. It looks great with a good HD source like "Lost" and the other main channels. I mostly watch Disc/Hist/PBS type HD channels, so the SD quality doesn't really concern me. A friends HD-DVD player looked amazing on it...too bad BD is going to take another year to drop in price to a reasonable level.

RE: Vizio
By therealnickdanger on 4/28/2008 8:21:55 AM , Rating: 2
I bought two Dynex (Best Buy house brand) 32" LCD HDTVs last Black Friday for $450 each. Anyway, I bought them to replace the last of the analog sets in the house, and I couldn't be happier. A buddy of mine with the proper tools calibrated them (the best he could) and they are suprisingly very good with SD and HD content. There are some brightness uniformity problems, but it's only noticeable when it's dark in the room.

Tons of inputs, decent menu options, the specs are here:

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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