Even though many consumer markets have struggled the past few months, market research indicates the high-definition TV market continues to thrive, with Q1 sales numbers increasing 17 percent up to 7.8 million units sold.
"Amid the current economic downturn, a new wave of cocooning has hit, with recession-wary U.S. consumers eschewing travel, staying home and watching their televisions,” said Joe Abelson, iSuppli VP of displays. “However, they still are finding enough money to buy new flat-panel sets that offer superior pictures and larger sizes.”
Many consumers are targeting cheaper TVs made by value brands, with HDTV adoption rates expected to continue to increase. Around 70 percent of all TV purchases were valued at $1,000 or less, a seven percent increase from the same time in 2008.
"Despite the current economic climate, HD is on course to becoming the benchmark in television viewing," Nielsen researchers said. "As prices of HDTVs continue to fall and circumstances such as the Digital Television Transition create opportunities to further promote HD sets and services, HDTV will gain a greater foothold in U.S. television homes."
Research published at the end of last year by Nielsen indicated HDTV penetration was the highest in Washington D.C., Boston and New York City, with sporting events from the NFL and NBA still the most popular HDTV programs. At the end of last year, 23.2 percent -- around 26 million U.S. homes -- had at least one HDTV.
An increasing number of content providers are rolling out HD channels, with at least one channel, HDNet, designed specifically to handle a variety of sports programming and other content available in HD only.
Furthermore, standalone Blu-ray player sales also increased due to falling prices of the players, movies and HDTVs, the NPD Group said in a statement published a few weeks ago. A living room with a Blu-ray player and HDTV is a combination expected to help get consumers to watch more movies and HD content while avoiding other leisure activities.