HD not completely hitting home

I have a confession to make: I own an HDTV, but I have not signed up for high-definition programming-and, believe it or not, it's not because I'm an idiot and don't realize that I'm not watching HD. I just haven't gotten around to it... in the last year since I've had my HDTV.

Research firm In-Stat has a new report that suggests that I'm not alone-at least not in my status as an HDTV owner who doesn't watch HD programming. In-Stat found that only about 56 percent of the 39 million U.S. households that have HDTVs actually receive HD programming from their TV service providers. The number of households with HDTVs that also have programming to match (the ones doing it the right way, many of you might argue) still grew by about 40 percent between 2007 and 2008 to 22 million.

It is not clear why so many HDTV owners don't have HD service, though it has been suggested that many people believe simply buying the HDTV allows them to watch everything in HD (again, I am not a member of that club). I may have reasons other than laziness why I haven't gotten around to signing up for HD programming, and here's the part where you may want to call me an idiot: I just don't care that much about having an HD viewing experience.

This is strange, because I probably fit the HD customer profile pretty well. I'm a major sports fan. I watch a ton of TV (though, of course, not while I'm working). I like movies with great cinematography and lots of other visual pizzaz. I think I'm supposed to be the sport of person who appreciates the HD viewing experience-but for some reason, I'm not. So, why did I buy an HDTV? It's a nice wide-screen plasma model, and the price was right. And, I figured I would want HD service at some point. Not having HD service is not really an expense decision either, though I feel like the bad economy offers me a good excuse. Why should I spend more money on my TV service when my retirement funds are shrinking, my home value is spiraling downward and my future income is no more secure than anyone else's?

Maybe the additional expense is the reason why some of the other people out there with HDTVs don't have HD service. Yet, for others, the expense is obviously entirely worth it. It has been argued by many in recent months that the video has evolved into a recession-proof, almost-lifeline service for many consumers. It seems like HD should be expendable for consumers having trouble paying all their bills, but maybe they wouldn't think of giving it up-and maybe they can't explain why they wouldn't give up HD any better than I can explain why I still don't have HD.

-Dan

For more:
- Multichannel News has this story

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