Over 20% of households will be HD by 2014

The number of high definition households is expected to reach 276 million by 2014, according to new research by Informa Telecoms and Media. This represents 21% of all global TV households.

Only 5.8% of global TV homes watched HD programming by end-2009, though the proportion is expected to increase to 7.8% by end-2010. However, this represented 71 million households at end-2009, up 29 million from the end of 2008.

HDTV is finally taking off as equipment prices have fallen to affordable levels and as the number of channels on offer becomes attractive to a mass audience. Some operators now offer HD channels free to subscribers within other packages – though subs still usually have to pay for the relatively more expensive HD set-top box.

North America is the dominant region, accounting for two-thirds of the 2010 total. However, this proportion will fall to 37% by 2014 as other regions catch up. Asia Pacific is the third-largest region, thanks mainly to early adoption in Japan. The region will take second place and increase to 31% of the total by 2014. By then, China will have 30 million active HDTV homes, followed by Japan (22 million) Korea (11 million) and India (10 million).

The UK will lead the way in Europe, with 14.1 million active homes by 2014. France (12.2 million) will follow close behind. Germany (9.3 million) will be third in Europe and Italy (8 million) will be fourth.