Research from Scripps Networks has shown that US viewers with access to high-definition (HD) television channels watch more television than do non-HD households. However, HD-enabled homes still tune to standard-definition (SD) channels in large numbers, even when HD versions are available.
The study suggests that the cable industry practice of segregating HD channels into tiers far removed from their SD counterparts may discourage the viewing of high-definition programming. In contrast, satellite operator DirecTV assigns HD and SD feeds the same channel number and their interactive program guide can be programmed to enable automatic HD tuning.
The study is based on actual set-top box tuning data gathered by research firm TNS from approximately 300,000 households in Charter’s Los Angeles cable system, one of the largest in the nation.