Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Growth of HD and its effect on viewing choices

Comcast has just announced that it is launching more Hi Def channels, including HGTV and Food HD simulcasts. Also today, Direct TV announced that they are launching 21 additional HD nets to bring their number of national HDTV channels to 31. Next month, an additional 18 HD nets are to be added. The distribution of a Hi Def signal is best served by cable and satellite and not yet by broadband. In addition, HD sets are flying off the shelf as more consumers seek a better viewing experience. The only thing that doesn't change is time. There is still only 24 hours in a day, and once you remove sleeping, and perhaps working, fewer hours remain for viewing.

My point is that the rise of Hi Def is a competitive tool to keep the viewer connected to the tv experience. The viewer must mull which matters most the convenience or mobility to watch a program away from the tv set, or the quality of the video and sound experience to watch on the HD set. And on a VOD basis, would you rather watch a SD or HD version of the program. Would you rather watch Heroes or 30 Rock on a 2" screen or on your 50" HD set with surround speakers. With sports and films, the choice is even more obvious. Circumstances may affect that decision, but in the end, I believe the experience of HD wins out. Networks need to embrace HD; consumers are preferring it. Add an interactive component to the HD set and we may just become couch potatoes for life.