No World Record for HD Olympic Coverage, But the Race is On to Push HD Service to the Masses

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The Diffusion Group suggests that HDTV is nearing its tipping point, thanks in large part to limited but well-promoted Olympic coverage.

Despite the fact that less than two million U.S. households actually received a high-definition feed of the summer Olympics – with less than one million actually tuning into the HD programming – this was the most extensive consumer exposure to HDTV programming and technology to date. According to a new report from research consultancy The Diffusion Group, while HD Olympic coverage may have left many sophisticates complaining about limited selection and delayed programming, it nonetheless introduced the concept of high-definition television to a new and much more mainstream market.

However, exposure to HDTV is not the same as purchasing an HDTV or signing up for an HD service. “One of the primary constraints to widespread HDTV diffusion is the widespread confusion among consumers as to what exactly HDTV is and does,” says Scott Kipp, consulting analyst with The Diffusion Group. “Although the critics of NBC’s HD coverage are correct in many ways, there is no doubt that NBC’s positioning of HD content and the vendors who leveraged the Olympics as a means of advertising HDTV solutions have had an impact on the general public’s awareness of HD.”

“By 2008, more than 40% of U.S. households will own an HD-ready TV but only 16% will be able to enjoy HD content – even when it is given away for free,” Kipp continues. “There is a difference between being 'HD-ready' – that is, while the TV supports HD there is no HDTV receiver present – and 'HD-consuming' – which implies the existence of both an HD monitor and HD receiver.”

TDG’s latest report, HDTV Service Providers: Competitive Analysis & Forecasts, examines the various HD services offered to U.S. consumers, as well as quantifies the penetration of and likely demand for HD technology and services through 2010. HDTV Service Providers: Competitive Analysis & Forecasts is now available for purchase on the Company’s website,

About The Diffusion Group

The Diffusion Group is a “think tank” of consumer technology analysts charged with providing timely, actionable intelligence designed to best position new consumer technologies for rapid diffusion. TDG is committed to providing market research and strategic consulting services based on conservative, real-world analysis and market forecasts grounded in consumer research. For more information about The Diffusion Group, visit our website at

Media Contact:

Andy Tarczon

The Diffusion Group


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