You can’t buy an SD TV anymore. Well, not a traditional 4:3 SD TV at least. Nope, if you want a TV, high-def is your only choice. But you do have a choice whether to subscribe to the HD service from your TV provider. Apparently more people are sticking with their SD cable TV instead of paying extra for the higher resolution. Nielsen reports that 80% of the programming on America’s HDTVs is standard definition content. That’s sad considering the same report states 56% of American homes have at least one HDTV. Sigh.
There probably isn’t a clear cut reason why the vast majority of US consumers do not have HD programming. It could be the price of the service, the hassle of getting it installed, or simply ignorance. At least the signal processors have improved to the point where standard-def programming doesn’t look horrible. A few short years ago that was not the case as non-HD content was nearly unwatchable on even small HD screens.
It’s really up to you, the educated consumer, to gently inform your friends and family living with standard definition programming that there’s a whole different world out there that can be had with only an antenna or quick call to their TV provider. The cost of HD programming over digital is often nominal and installation usually happens within days as cable providers are looking to convert people as quick as they can.