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North America has the highest penetration of HDTVs of any major global region, according to according to a new study from The Nielsen Company.

Globally, 30% of respondents own an HDTV set. Nielsen analysis indicates ownership indexes highest amongst adults 55-59, which Nielsen calls a critical age at which consumers have the disposable income and more time to enjoy the finer things in life.

North Americans 60% More Likely than Global Average to Own HDTV
“How People Watch” indicates North America leads in the ownership of high-definition television sets. According to Nielsen analysis, dropping prices, a rapid onset of content and the adoption of Blu-ray players and next-generation video game consoles make North Americans 57% more likely than average to own an HDTV set, while consumers in Latin America and MEAP (Middle East, Africa and Pakistan) are 37% less likely to own one.


Australia, Hong Kong Top HDTV Markets
Though the Asia Pacific region on the whole under-indexes for HDTV ownership, some Asia-Pacific markets rise to the top in HD adoption. Hong Kong consumers are 60% more likely than the global online population to own an HDTV set–just behind the top market for HDTV, Australia, where consumers are nearly twice as likely as the global average to own an HDTV set.


In part, Nielsen says Australian penetration can be attributed to a lower-than-average standard of what is considered “high-def:” images in 576p are considered high definition in Australia, compared to the minimum 720p elsewhere in the world.

The US and UK tie for third among national markets with an index score of 157. Canada ties for sixth with Italy and Spain (140).

Latin America, Asia Pacific Watch Most TV
Latin America and Asia Pacific tie as the two global regions with the highest rates of watching TV, according to other results from “How People Watch.” The study indicates indicates that dividing TV penetration by global region, Latin America and Asia Pacific tie for the highest index score of residents who have watched TV at home in the past 30 days (104). The European Union comes in with a substantially lower index score of 89. North America and Middle East, Africa and Pakistan (MEAP) slightly trail Latin America and Asia Pacific, each scoring 101 on the home TV index.

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