Report: Real HD use in EU years away

Fewer than 1% currently watch in high-def

LONDON -- European households have been quick to adopt high definition but are ill-served by the lack of HD television services, according to a new report Wednesday.

Research from Screen Digest said that 18% of Europe's 165 million TV homes had HD by the end of 2007, but fewer than 1% of households actually watched high-definition broadcasts.

Screen Digest forecasts that, by 2012, only 20% of HD-enabled European homes will actually be watching in HD. Report author Vincent Letang said that HD viewing will only begin to be more widespread following the analog switch off, which will free up capacity on the digital terrestrial platform, eventually making HD ubiquitous.

"In the next five years, HDTV will remain little more than a pay TV product in Europe -- primarily on satellite," he said.

"Analog 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," Letang added. "HD is forecast to eventually become the mainstream and ultimately the standard form of free television around the middle of the next decade. In 10 years time, nobody will ever refer to 'high definition' because HD will be everywhere."
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