Nielsen: HD Viewing Still Low

Nearly a year and a half after TV stations made the switch to digital broadcast, most TV viewing—about 80 percent—is still in standard definition. Only 13 percent of total day viewing on cable and 19 percent of viewing on broadcast TV is “true HD viewing,” according to Nielsen figures released Monday (Nov. 8).

Despite the low levels of HD viewing, 56 percent of households have high-definition TV, making the technology one of the most quickly adopted consumer entertainment technologies. Though the majority of homes have an HD set, the set is only one of the TV sets in the household. Even on HD sets, about 20 percent of viewing is to non-HD programming.

It’s no surprise that of the types of programming viewed in HD, cable sports is at the top of the list and children’s programming is at the bottom. Adults between 18 and 34 had the highest percentage of HD viewing, with 28 percent of viewing to sports networks and 23 percent to entertainment networks.

HD viewing also varies by ethnicity. About two-thirds of Asian households are set up to watch TV in high definition, compared to about half of African-American homes.