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Does HD growth show the way forward for connected TV?
Earlier this year, Sky published results declaring that HD now reaches 3.5 million Sky households, an increase of 68% year on year.
Results from Kantar Media's futurePROOF survey provide a fuller picture of the take up of HD services. The survey found that a fifth (22%) of adults and young people (aged 12+) have a HDTV service on any TV set at home. This represents an increase from 16% in 2009. Taking account of those who intend to get an HDTV service in the next six months, we forecast that penetration of HDTV will climb to 27% by mid 2011.
Ownership of HD ready TV sets is much wider, increasing from 44% of adults and young people in 2009 to 50% in 2010. This translates to 26 million people in Britain having the potential to receive programmes in HD.
Furthermore, getting an HDTV service is among the main drivers of changing TV service (mentioned by 17% of those intending to take up a new TV service in the next 6 months) alongside getting a better channel line up (15%), getting a DVR (14%) and upgrading in advance of digital switchover (13%).
But what do those who have HDTV think of it? Six in ten (59%) adults with a HD service agreed that 'I think the picture quality on HD is a big improvement on standard definition' but 13% of HD subscribers disagreed with this statement, with women being more likely to disagree (19%) than men (8%). The top five genres that HD subscribers were most likely to feel were important to be able to watch in HD were films (62%), sport (51%), documentaries (51%), natural history (51%) and drama (49%).
Of course, HDTV is much further along the development curve than connected TV or 3DTV. Consequently, awareness is much higher for HDTV (85%) than for 3DTV (55%) and TV sets which can be connected to the internet (42%).
FuturePROOF recorded that 7% of adults and young people have a TV set which can be connected to the internet at home. Only a further 1% of the population said that they intend to buy a connected TV set in the next 6 months, reflecting the relatively low awareness.
Only 1% currently has a 3D TV set with a further 2% of the population intending to buy a 3D TV set in the next 6 months. Perhaps what is more telling is that only 2 in 10 adults (18%) agreed that they are 'excited by the prospect of being able to watch television in 3D at home'. The profile of those agreeing to this statement was skewed towards men (57%) and under 35s (59%).
In contrast, HDTV and connected TV appear to be attracting a more mainstream audience. Current subscribers to an HDTV service show no major demographic differences from adults and young people who do not subscribe whilst the skew towards under 35s (37%) is less pronounced for connected TV viewers than 3D TV viewers. In fact, 24% of those with a connected TV are aged 35 to 44 years compared to 17% of all aged 12 years or over.
Perhaps this suggests that 3DTV is likely to remain more of a technology for a niche group whilst HDTV and connected TV have greater likelihood to reach the masses.