CEMA: Public Awareness of HDTV Growing

Public awareness of HDTV has almost doubled in the past year, according to a survey recently conducted by the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association. Over the week of July 6-14, CEMA interviewed 1000 adults, selected at random, to find out how far the coming television format has penetrated into the American consciousness.

The answer: 58% of consumers are now familiar with the terms "high-definition television" and "HDTV." This is almost twice as many as the 30% who responded positively back in April 1997. More than half of those who described themselves as familiar with the concept said they are interested in buying digital TVs, and 70% of those interviewed said they would go into dealers' stores this fall to see HDTV demonstrations.

The results of the survey are being made available to manufacturers and dealers to help them prepare for what Todd Thibodeaux, CEMA's vice president for market research, calls a "flood" of consumers once HDTV gets its official launch this fall. "This survey gives retailers and manufacturers some important information," he says. "Retailers can expect consumers to flood their stores to see DTV demonstrations this fall. When they buy will depend on a variety of factors."

Awareness of HDTV, digital television, and related technology is highest among movie fans in the Baby-Boomer generation, about half of whom said they will consider buying a DTV for movies. Sports fans are second in their awareness of the new technology, trailed by viewers of sitcoms.

Generation X is only slightly less aware of HDTV than Baby Boomers, and senior citizens are the least aware of all the categories in the survey. According to CEMA's figures, Gen-X has the most positive attitude toward digital television, and the highest likelihood of buying, despite the probability that they will need financing to do so.