A recent survey by the Leichtman Research Group showed that 24 million households in the US have High-Definition TVs...sort of. The survey also revealed that close to one-half of those aren't actually watching programs in HD because they don't have the right hardware or service from their cable provider. What's more, half of that group...almost 6 million households...DON'T EVEN KNOW IT! Yes, that's right. They bought an HDTV and are watching it right now in what they think is beautiful HD glory, blissfully unaware that they're still watching standard TV.
Gone are the days when you buy a TV, plug it in, then sit back to watch CSI reruns. Now most HDTVs also require a set-top signal processor, plus a hi-def signal from the cable provider. Even once you've got it plugged in, you have to make sure you're watching the HD version of the channel you want.
HD or not HD, that is the questionOn the horizon is the 2009 digital-transition deadline, when all broadcasters must transmit entirely in digital signals. This doesn't mean everyone needs an HD set, but it does mean a lot of people who are still watching their old analog TVs will probably be buying new ones...and they'll probably be buying HDTV sets, as prices are dropping below $1,000.
So where's the enterprising idea? Gaps in knowledge can be fertile ground for new business models...see the Geek Squad, or frankly any home maintenance/improvement service. If you know a little about TV technology, and are willing to make housecalls, you can enter into an arrangement with your local cable provider...you help them find new HD clients, get them setup with the right equipment and info, and the cable company gets the lasting benefit of the monthly subscription. It's the same model a lot of security system companies use.
And with a market of 12 million potential clients and rising, rest assured someone will step in to fill the space...why not you?
And while we're at it, here's another idea for the changing TV market...retrofitting entertainment armoires to house LCD and plasma TVs.