HDTV still a mystery to consumers, survey finds

By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: A Newspoll survey commisioned by Samsung has found Australians are still largely ignorant about high definition digital television (HDTV) after 96 per cent of respondents were found to be confused about how to tune into HDTV.

A national telephone survey revealed just 4 per cent of Australians are aware that they can only receive high definition pictures on a limited number of free-to-air TV programs.

Of the 1,200 adults contacted during April 2006 for the survey, 46 per cent believed that all digital TV channels are available in HD, 43 per cent believed that all plasma and LCD screens are HD compatible and 54 per cent believed that Foxtel Digital has HD programming – all misconceptions.

The survey also revealed widespread conflation of DVD and HDTV picture quality, with over half of respondents claiming that traditional DVDs playback high definition pictures.

“Compared to countries like the US and Japan, where digital TV and high definition take up has been rapid, the Australian AV industry has a long way to go in helping consumers to understand the benefits of high definition technologies over analogue TV sets and entertainment systems,” said Samsung Australia general manager – corporate marketing, Kurt Jovais.

Perhaps most worrying for retailers, 40 per cent said that none of the benefits of high definition described to them would prompt them to buy an HDTV.

Samsung has blamed poor consumer education about HD for the lack of interest.

“HD allows your digital home entertainment system to more efficiently capture and process data, creating an image and sound that looks and feels more natural, but consumers need to better understand how to take advantage of these benefits,” said Samsung technical marketing manager, John Fragiadakis.

“As consumers learn more about how HD can fit into their everyday entertainment experiences, the greater the attraction for consumers to upgrade to high definition,” he said.

Nearly one in ten respondents said they already had an HD-integrated TV, while 12 per cent said their TV was HD-ready.

Often pegged as the industry’s most highly anticipated technology for 2006, it seems that the Blu-ray high definition optical disk format is nothing of the sort among consumers – 87 per cent had never heard of it, while just two per cent claimed to fully understand the technology. Samsung will launch the industry’s first Blu-ray player at the end of the year for RRP $999.

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