Even though HD TV's have been around for some time, that doesn't mean that newbies know how to use them.

In a story from Variety, HD TV's did quite well this holiday season, but it appears consumers might have a heard time getting them to look like how they looked in the store they purchased them from.

"People know what 'digital' means, but they're being asked to remember all these obscure terms," states Matt Swanston, director of business analysis at the Consumer Electronics Assn. "They could learn so much more about HDTV."

Apparently, many HD owners "don't realize that they need to erect an antenna -- or subscribe to HD service from their cable/satellite provider -- in order to pick up high-def signals."

If this isn't done, one is simply "watching a regular picture on their $2,000 TV."

"People understand why they want an HD or digital set, (but) relatively few understand everything that needs to happen from the source to their set," offers Swanston, who also "notes that consumers are used to bringing home new electronics devices and simply plugging them in."

On December 26, with the prices of HD TVs going down even further, this "means a huge jump in household penetration for HD and digital sets. The average digital TV set now costs just over $1,043 -- the lowest price yet -- and will dip to $800 next year, the CEA reports."

In addition to this, "There's a lot of room for misinterpretation and misunderstanding when dealing one-on-one with consumers and sales people," Swanston says.

Lastly, there's the subject of "the 2009 analog cutoff. On that date, broadcasters will shut off their analog signals and continue broadcasting only in digital. But contrary to popular belief, the switchover won't make your existing analog TV set obsolete -- and it doesn't even mean that TV will suddenly go all-digital, all-the-time."

It is estimated that this "cutoff will mostly affect just the 10%-15% of the population that still gets its signals over-the-air, rather than via cable or satellite."

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs