Monday, 13 February 2012

Has Interest in HDTV Peaked?

The Media Trends Survey has explored interest in HDTV and other new technologies over the past ten years.  In particular, respondents have been asked about their likelihood of purchasing an HDTV set in the coming year.  As shown in the graph, interest in HDTV sets at the price point we tested, $1000, was modest 7-8 years ago but interest levels changed somewhat around 2005 for the first time and these changes accelerated in the years 2006 to 2010.  The percentage of people who said they were not at all likely to buy an HD set shrank from over 60% a decade ago to just over 30% today.  Even more remarkable was that in 2011 some 35% of respondents indicated they already had an HDTV compared to less than 1% ten years ago. HDTV was a rarity ten years ago and has become almost common today but it would appear that interest in HD has now peaked.   The percentage of people who said they already owned an HDTV stalled at 35% in 2011, the first year of no growth. Only when older sets die, and they tend to last for years, will the rest of the population switch to HD sets.

I purchased my first HDTV set in 2002, a 205-lb 34" Sony tube set and the cost was almost $5,000.  We never moved it.  Three years ago I traded it in for a flat screen 46" first generation LED Samsung that was on sale for $2,500, marked down from $4,000.  Today the same Samsung set, with more bells and whistles, sells for $1,000 or less.  Anyone who complains about the cost of living always going up doesn't go into Future Shop or Best Buy often and probably doesn't own shares in Sony.

Who is more likely to own an HDTV today? People who subscribe to digital cable (41.7%) and those who are very interested in Hollywood movies (46.8%) are above average when it comes to HD ownership.  And, over 50% of people who own an iPod, have Apple TV, an iPad or subscribe to Netflix report they already have an HD set.

The 2011 results are from CMRI's Media Trends Survey conducted November-December 2011 among a representative national sample of approximately 900 Anglophone respondents aged 18-plus.  Margin of error +/-3.3%.  The Media Trends Survey has been conducted for ten consecutive years and has surveyed over 15,000 Canadians in total in this period.

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