HDTV – do people care?

By October 26, 2006HDTV, IPTV, PCTV, TV

HDTV 

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.

  • Compare a soccer game on high def and standard and see if you have the same opinion. Once you actually try high def in your home you won’t go back.

  • Jon Smirl

    Compare a soccer game on high def and standard and see if you have the same opinion. Once you actually try high def in your home you won’t go back.

  • nic

    A lot of people say that Jon, but I’m really not sure. It’s great when you have it, but you don’t miss it when you don’t, or not enough people miss it enough.

  • nic

    A lot of people say that Jon, but I’m really not sure. It’s great when you have it, but you don’t miss it when you don’t, or not enough people miss it enough.

  • HD is interesting, yes HD is stunning when seen but the costs are far too high at the moment and the experience is not stable enough for the consumer (I have seen high instances of pixelation via Telewest)

    What concerns me is that broadcasters are using the same content across multiple platforms – from HD TV through the net to mobile – people do care about picture quality.

    HD is shot from a very wide angle – take football, you may have noticed how far we felt away from the pitch during the World Cup. These kind of wide shots do not work on mobile devices, or even on computers to some degree. There has to be some compromise somewhere or broadcasters will be left with some fantastic content for TV but a very poor experience for the (future) mobile market.

  • HD is interesting, yes HD is stunning when seen but the costs are far too high at the moment and the experience is not stable enough for the consumer (I have seen high instances of pixelation via Telewest)

    What concerns me is that broadcasters are using the same content across multiple platforms – from HD TV through the net to mobile – people do care about picture quality.

    HD is shot from a very wide angle – take football, you may have noticed how far we felt away from the pitch during the World Cup. These kind of wide shots do not work on mobile devices, or even on computers to some degree. There has to be some compromise somewhere or broadcasters will be left with some fantastic content for TV but a very poor experience for the (future) mobile market.

  • This despite them watching numerous HD broadcasts
    of sporting events on my 55-inch Sony LCD HDTV.