Survey Indicates Canadians Slow to Adopt HD-Television Technology May 3, 2005 12:00am Source: Canada Newswire Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Attention News Editors TORONTO, May 2 /CNW/ - A national survey commissioned by Astral Media's The Movie Network and conducted by Ipsos-Reid suggests that only 14% of Canadians currently have an HD-ready television set. Interestingly, of those who have HD television sets, only two in five (40%) have the HD set-top box necessary to receive true HD picture quality. As a result, only 6% of Canadians are actually viewing programming in high definition. Probing further, The Movie Network HD Survey shows that among those Canadians who have an HD-ready television set, but not the HD set-top box, 41% indicate that they don't have a box because there is not enough HD content currently available from broadcasters to make it worth their while. Surprisingly, 16% reported that they didn't know they even needed an HD set- top box to watch HD broadcast programming, suggesting that some viewers believe they are viewing HD, when in fact they are not. One in five (19%) claim they do not have an HD set-top box because they are satisfied watching only DVDs on their HD television sets. This may be tied to the fact that although DVDs cannot currently be viewed in true HD, HD-ready television sets do up-convert letterbox DVDs into wide-screen images which consumers find acceptable. High Definition Television, or HDTV, delivers brilliant, high-resolution images in a wide-screen format that is up to five times clearer than standard- definition televisions. HDTV also provides CD-quality audio and rivals the picture quality, wide-screen format and surround-sound experience of a movie theatre. While the survey and recent reports would indicate that HD technology is still in the early stages of adoption in Canada, one in five Canadians who do not currently have an HD-ready television do indicate that they plan to buy one, with almost half (46%) planning to purchase an HD-ready TV within the next year. As such, broadcasters such as The Movie Network are making HD a priority. The Movie Network is meeting the expressed demand for more content by launching The Movie Network HD (TMN HD) on May 2, 2005. TMN HD is a High- Definition channel available free of charge to subscribers of The Movie Network and will offer a 24-hour schedule of HD content. "The results of this survey confirm that a significant proportion of Canadians are demanding a critical mass of HD content before they are willing to commit to the technology," says Domenic Vivolo, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Sales, Astral Television Networks. "As a leader in broadcast technology, The Movie Network is pacing itself ahead of the market to provide viewers who are currently HD equipped, as well as those who will be making the move to HD in the coming months, with a channel that will have the highest amount of HD content of any Canadian movie service in eastern Canada. This content will obviously include movies which research(x) has indicated is what consumers are looking for most in HD." With hundreds of titles of HD content, The Movie Network HD line-up will include programming from HBO and Showtime in addition to The Movie Network's own original Canadian drama series and Hollywood blockbuster movies from the major studios. Programming will include popular series such as Fat Actress and Deadwood and recent movies such as Elf, White Chicks, Dogville and Kill Bill Vol. 2, all in an uncut and commercial-free environment. The network has also made a commitment to delivering all its original Canadian series in HD which includes the premiere of Terminal City, Stuntdawgs and Slings & Arrows, season 2. "Content is king in the world of HD," says Michael McEwen, President of Canadian Digital Television (CDTV). "Increased content will be essential to increasing the adoption rate for high definition in Canada. As with any technology, application and content are required to justify the expenditure in the minds of consumers. The launch of networks dedicated to high-definition content, such as The Movie Network HD, will demonstrate to those in the industry that this is a technology to be invested in, and will make inroads with a consumer population who is still taking a 'wait and see' approach when it comes to HD." Other survey results include: ---------------------------- - 48% of Ontario respondents indicate that there is "not sufficient HD content currently available" as the reason for not having an HD set-top box. - Men (24%) without an HD-ready TV are more likely than women (14%) to buy an HD-ready TV set. - Among those Canadians who plan to buy an HD-ready television, 10% say that they will buy it in the next three months; 6% plan to buy in three to six months; 30% will buy in six months to a year; and, a total of 53% will buy in a year or more from now. - The main reasons that Canadians who do not currently have an HD television set are disinterested in buying an HD-ready TV set are: - Cost - 36% of Canadians are not planning to buy an HD-ready TV set because of the cost of the television sets; and, - Awareness - 15% still don't know enough about HD. - Interestingly, 42% of women, as opposed to 27% of men, are not planning to buy an HD-ready TV set because of cost, while 12% of men compared to 4% of women say it's because there is not enough content currently available. Indicating that men are more likely than women to need assurances of greater content to adopt HD and women are more likely than men to need a less-expensive product offering. (x) Lyra Research released US survey results in July 2004 which reported that both men and women chose movies as "most important" in terms of what they wanted to watch in HD. Men rated sporting events a close second, while women rated drama TV series marginally higher than sports. The Consumer Electronics Association also released a survey in October 2003 that found similar results. About the Survey ---------------- The Movie Network HD Survey was conducted by Ipsos-Reid between April 19 and April 21, 2005. A representative randomly selected sample of 1000 adult Canadians of 18 years of age or older was interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within (+/-) 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population: Those without an HD-ready television set (n=856, (+/-) 3.4%); those with an HD-ready television set (n=144, (+/-) 8.2%); those without an HD set top box (n=79, (+/-) 11.0%); those planning to buy an HD ready TV set (n=158, (+/-) 7.8%); and those not planning to buy an HD ready TV set (n=691, (+/-) 3.7%). These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data. Please visit www.ipsos.ca for full tabular results. The Movie Network is an Astral Media network available in eastern Canada. With premiere access to blockbuster movies, critically-acclaimed HBO and Showtime series, and first-rate Canadian programming, this pay-television service presents Canadians with some of the best television entertainment available. The Movie Network service includes five 24-hour multiplex channels - M, MMore, MExcess, MFun! and MFest - which deliver diverse and entertaining programs in an uncut and commercial-free television environment. The Movie Network also offers The Movie Network HD, a dedicated high-definition channel providing hundreds of titles in HD; and The Movie Network OnDemand, a Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) service, available in select areas across eastern Canada. For more information, please visit www.themovienetwork.ca. Astral Media is one of Canada's leading media companies, active in specialty, pay and pay-per-view television, radio and outdoor advertising. Astral Media's solid and dynamic presence in the country's major markets rests on its commitment to offer a unique combination of high-quality, targeted media for all its audiences. www.astralmedia.com Media contact: Roopa Shah, Astral Television Networks, (416) 956-8584, rshah@xxxxxxxxxxxxx; Deborah Wilson, Astral Television Networks, (416) 956-8558, deborah.wilson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <<Canada Newswire English -- 05/03/05>> << Copyright ©2005 Canada Newswire Ltd. All Rights Reserved. >> ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.