Lack of HD content holding back TV

But tipping point has been reached, says analyst

We re HD ready but are the broadcasters

Media Analysts Screen Digest have suggested that HD technology has a 'tipping point' across Europe, but that a lack of HD broadcasts will mean that the majority of us will still be watching standard definition content on our HD televisions in 2012.

According to the analysts, 18 per cent of the 165 million European TV households were equipped with HD displays, but less than one per cent were considered 'HD enabled' – which was judged as having an HD enabled set top box and a subscription that allowed them to watch HD television broadcasts.

The forecast is that only 20 per cent of households will be 'HD enabled' by 2012 with 85 per cent in possession of HD capable screens.

"In the next five years, HDTV will remain little more than a pay TV product in Europe – primarily on satellite, said the report's author Vincent Letang.

Bandwidth

"Analogue switch-off, which will happen between 2010 and 2012 will free-up bandwidth capacity on the digital terrestrial platform and will kick-start the next phase of growth in HD TV.

"HD TV will become the mainstream and ultimately the standard form of free television around the middle of the next decade.

"In ten years time, nobody will ever refer to 'high definition' because HD will be everywhere."

Sweden and UK?

Currently Sky's HD service and cable provider Virgin, as well as FreeSat, give access to HD content, but it is a tiny fraction of the total amount of television broadcast.

Although the likes of ITV are beginning to get involved in HD, the increased costs are prohibitive and, currently, probably the most common use of HD in the country is from gaming and the HD enabled Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.