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HDTV Services Grow

After years of hype and promises, high-definition television (HDTV) services have finally captured the imagination of a small, but growing, audience of TV viewers.
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Scottsdale, AZ--After years of hype and promises, high-definition television (HDTV) services have finally captured the imagination of a small, but growing, audience of TV viewers who now enjoy HDTV's enhanced picture quality. HDTV service is also exciting TV broadcasters and multichannel service providers, according to In-Stat/MDR, a high-tech market research firm.

HDTV service, which is becoming widely available in a few select countries, is being marketed as a premium service that has the potential to boost incremental monthly revenues for cable and satellite operators, while also providing terrestrial TV broadcasters with a new weapon in their fight against pay-TV services.

Currently, just over four million worldwide TV households receive and watch HDTV programming, although most industry insiders expect that number to climb rapidly over the next few years. Increasing consumer demand for HDTV service is also driving sales of new consumer electronics products, such as HDTV sets and HD-capable set top boxes. However, there are still several market challenges that are reigning in the growth of HDTV services. These include the need for more HD programming, lowering the cost of HD equipment, increasing the availability of HD service, and better educating the public about the benefits of HDTV.

In-Stat/MDR reported other important findings:

-Total worldwide terrestrial, satellite, and cable TV households that are watching HD programming on an HDTV set are projected to rise to almost six million by the end of 2004, and ultimately reach 45 million by the end of 2008.

-HDTV service remains extremely limited in its reach, with only four countries offering the service beyond an experimental basis. These countries are Japan, the United States, Canada, and Australia. However, a few other countries, mostly in the Asia-Pacific region, are expected to roll out limited HDTV services in the next year.

-Japan is leading the HDTV charge with over two million households receiving and watching HDTV programming. The US is second with just over 1.5 million households.

The report, "High-Definition TV Services: Coming to a Home Near You?," examines the availability of high-definition television services around the world.

To purchase this full report, or for more information, visit www.instat.com.

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