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Survey reveals HDTV confusion

Many unclear about what you need to watch it

A Which? survey has revealed many members remain confused about exactly what equipment you need to watch high definition TV (HDTV).

A quarter of those who do not own an LCD or plasma screen television were completely unaware of what was needed while around a fifth thought you could watch HDTV so long as you had a new LCD or plasma screen TV.


HDTV: What you need to watch HDTV
  Statement People who agree
HDTV requirements A new flat-panel TV and a special set top box 30% 30%
Don’t know
24% 24%
A new flat-panel TV
22% 22%
A new flat-panel TV and a special set top box and an extra subscription 22% 22%
Just a TV, any TV
2% 2%

Table notes

The sample size of Which? members who do not own a flat-panel TV was 1,879 from a total of 2,677

A similar proportion thought you could get by with just an LCD or plasma screen TV and a special set top box while two per cent said you could watch high definition pictures on any TV.

However, to watch high definition pictures you need an HD-ready television, an HD set-top box to decode the signal set and a subscription to a special HD service from a cable or satellite TV company that broadcasts HD programmes.

All three

Only 30 per cent knew you needed all three to be able to watch HDTV.

Which? senior researcher Michael Briggs says: ‘We’re not surprised that people are confused over the whole HD issue. A TV covered in labels like HD ready, HD full or 1080HD can make it appear as though when you switch on it’s automatically high definition. But the display, broadcasts and content all have to be high definition. These are all new concepts that your average viewer simply will not appreciate – especially if retailers are showing HD images in the shop.’

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