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Cable Technology Feature Article

November 09, 2010

Why Spend on HD Video and Cable Viewing When Standard Definition Gets the Job Done?

By Jaclyn Allard, TMCnet Copy Editor

There is always something bigger, better, newer, brighter and with higher definition. Fifty-six percent of U.S. households purchased an HDTV because they needed to view their television in high definition, causing network and cable TV programming to consider offering in HD; however, 80 percent of TV being watched in the U.S. is still viewed in standard definition.

Perhaps this is because 44 percent of U.S. homes do not have an HDTV set? The recent economic crisis could explain this statistic. Or, are hard working adults just wasting time chasing an unrealistic need for the best? Standard definition still does the job – it provides the audience with entertainment. A large amount of people purchase HDTV sets and continue to watch the SD version of a cable or broadcast network that is also available in HD.

Nielsen Co., suggested a few other reasons behind continued SD watching, which include the fact that HD households may have at least one SD set being used.

Why blame the viewers though? Perhaps, HD viewing is down because too many pay-TV providers and networks cut corners when it comes to HD image quality. As TV Prediction's website notes, carriers often compress HD signals, making room for channels. "Because the HD industry is so inconsistent, it often leaves viewers wondering why they spent so much money on their high-def sets," commented TV Predictions', Phillip Swann. When people pay for the “best,” they expect the best.

In a recent press release, Christina Hansen, a product specialist with CableOrganizer.com, said, "This year, instead of separating friends, family and coworkers into the same old Naughty and Nice categories, dare to convert Naughty into Nice with a few unexpected gifts for the Disorganized, Un-Green and Gadget-Challenged on your list. Think of it as Gift Therapy, in which awesomely functional presents transform their recipients from nice people with nasty habits into certified model citizens."

For the Energy Waster in your life, who may have already spent a large amount of money on an HDTV and continues to watch in standard definition, purchase Smart Strip, the intuitive power supply that automatically cuts power to peripheral devices when the main event (i.e. HDTV or computer) is turned off. Mr. or Ms. Naughty will quickly realize how nice it is to live greener, especially when their utility bills are reduced.

Jaclyn Allard is a TMCnet copy editor. She most recently worked on the production team at Juran Institute, a quality consulting firm producing its own training and marketing materials. Previously, she interned at Curbstone Press, a nonprofit publishing press in Willimantic, CT, and fulfilled the role of Editor-in-Chief for the literature and arts journal published by the University of Connecticut. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard