HDTV – do people care?

By October 26, 2006 January 1st, 2007 7 Comments


I was at a Screen Digest seminar earlier this week where we discussed the future of high def TV.

They are projecting that by 2010 there will be 12m households in the UK with high def ready TVs, but that only 3m of them will actually be watching high def TV programmes.

A bit of background might be useful – TVs are being sold across Europe as high definition ready – which means that they are capable of showing high definition TV if they are given the high def input, but they will still work if you connect it up to your existing Sky or cable input.  This statistic is telling us that people are buying high definition TVs because they are big and flat, you can hang them on the wall and they look cool.  They are not buying them because they want to watch high definition TV. 

In fact, even though they have forked out a couple of grand for the big high def TV 75% of them won’t go the extra couple of hundred so they can watch high def programmes.

People don’t care that much about picture quality.  It is as simple as that.  YouTube wouldn’t be this successful if they did.  Sure when you ask them people say they would like better quality, why not, but for my money the evidence seems to show it just isn’t that important to people.

All of which may mean that IPTV and PCTV arrive sooner rather than later, once broadband quality has improved a bit.  All the extra choice and maybe reduced cost will more than compensate for any reduction in quality.  

PCTV, now that will be disruptive – think Napster for telly.