HD sales double in a year, according to Sony HD Benchmark

By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Consumer spending on high definition products in the fourth quarter of 2006 was more than double that of Q4 2005, growing 130 per cent to $497.9 million and driving a 25 per cent increase in the total sales value of digital goods during the year, according to the HD Benchmark released by Sony and GfK.

According to the quarterly HD Benchmark report, developed by Sony and GfK released exclusively to Current.com.au today, retailers generated more sales on HD products that SD alternatives for the second quarter in a row. HD goods accounted for 52.1 per cent of sales value in Q4 2006, with SD making up the rest.

Sony claims HD products were single-handedly responsible for the 25 per cent jump in consumer spending on digital goods at retail during the period, which rose to $949.1 million from $760.1 million in Q4 2005.

According to Sony deputy managing director, Carl Rose, today’s HD Benchmark proves that HD is continuing to increase its dominance over SD in applicable product categories.

“Sony believes high definition is undoubtedly the future for personal and home entertainment in Australia, and this report continues to endorse that vision,” said Rose.

“Year-on-year, these figures show the impact HD is having on consumer spending. As content availability continues to expand, so too does the take-up of high definition hardware. We’ve seen a marked slow down of standard definition products, and an explosion in HD adoption so that it now represents more than 50 per cent of this total electronics spending.”

TVs accounted for around 89 per cent of the sales value of HD products, with the rest made up of gaming consoles (5%), set top boxes/PVR (4%), camcorders (1.5%) and high definition DVD hardware (0.1%).

LCD TVs were a star performer during the quarter, accounting for 57 per cent of total HD sales, with plasma contributing around 32 per cent.

The report has also identified a strong trend towards HD products with full 1080-line vertical resolution (1080i or 1080p) and away from products with 720 to 1079 lines of resolution, such as flat panel TVs with 768 or 1024 lines of resolution.

The sales value of TVs with 1080-line resolution jumped 270.1 per cent over Q3 2006 as manufacturers of plasma, LCD and rear projection TVs started to release products into the market.

“With recent reports from Digital Broadcasting Australia estimating that one in four Australians now have access to digital television, we want to encourage consumers to take their switch to digital one step further, by ensuring they are moving to a full high definition source and display. Whether it’s for enjoying right now, or well into the digital switchover, opting for 1080-compatible products today will set a consumer up for a future that is in full HD,” said Rose.

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