HDTV uptake to treble by 2011

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HDTV uptake to treble by 2011

Informa Telecoms and Media predicts new generation of couch potatoes.

High-definition TV uptake will treble over the next five years, according to a report published today.

Industry researchers Informa Telecoms and Media said that the number of HDTV homes will jump to 151 million worldwide by 2011, from 48 million at the end of 2006. An estimated 1.2 billion households currently have TV sets.

Fifty-eight percent of all HD homes are currently in the US, where standard definition pictures are lower resolution than in the UK, making HD a bigger improvement.

In Japan the figure is 20 percent, with the UK, Canada, China and Germany close behind.

Report author Adam Thomas told Reuters: "The falling price of high-definition sets has really caught the public's imagination, and consumer uptake is impressive."

However, he added that some customers are disappointed with the limited HD content available. The report expected this to change, and broadcasters in the US, Japan and Australia have been set government quotas for HD content.

UK broadcasters are investing heavily in HD equipment and programming. BBC Outside Broadcasts engineer Alan Wright told vnunet.com: "I think it's inevitable that the main channels will switch to all-HD eventually.

"I suspect that a year down the line, asking any director whether they want standard definition or HD will be like asking whether they want colour or black and white."

The BBC HD channel is officially a "test" channel until governors give the go-ahead for charter renewal.

Meanwhile, Sky reports huge success with its HD offering, announcing last month that its HD subscribers almost doubled in the second quarter of 2006 to 184,000, making HD its fastest-growing new TV product ever.

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