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HDTV Consumer Perceptions Mixed

While 90 percent of all Americans have heard of high definition television (HDTV), only 47 percent say they know anything substantial about it, and just 15 percent say they are somewhat or very likely to get HDTV�all reflecting basically unchanged levels over the past year, according to the latest research from Ipsos Insight.

�Advertisers and marketers clearly have to take the initiative to expand the base of consumers who understand HDTV�s features and benefits, in order to convert them into buyers,� said Todd Board, leader of Ipsos Insight�s Technology & Communications practice. �Especially when you consider that the number of people who are substantially aware of HDTV hasn�t changed since 2004.�

�Awareness levels have topped out as the range of HDTV-related technology products and services are promoted by manufacturers, networks, and cable and satellite service providers,� Board said. �We have seen some degree of growth in HDTV penetration in the U.S. � varying estimates tend to center around an installed base of about 15MM at this point. That said, we see both need and opportunity to develop the market beyond the early adopter stage, to create mainstream momentum.�

�Among the fairly static group of U.S. consumers that report familiarity with HDTV in the past year, the perceived benefits have remained quite high,� added Board. �The critical issue today is that many consumers know HDTV exists, but haven�t been convinced that it offers enough benefit to justify replacing their current TVs. Some of the reluctance to become more familiar with HDTV may have to do with this �worth it� hurdle.�

Board explains the �worth it� hurdle as the incremental benefit to the consumer, balanced against the cost and hassle of experiencing that benefit, including evaluating alternatives, learning how to use the new technology, and any 'hidden' costs like upgraded receiver boxes.

Most survey respondents familiar with HDTV recall having seen an ad for HDTV in the past month (84 percent), and three quarters (74 percent) have looked into the capability in store. An encouraging finding was that the proportion of consumers familiar with HDTV who perceive it as �too expensive� declined from 72 percent in 2004 to 66 percent in 2005, reflecting real price reductions.

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