A third (33.3%) of US households now have HDTVs, up from 19.3% a year ago, according to a Nielsen survey.

However, only 28.8% of all US homes received HD programming as of February 2009.

In January, In-Stat reported that more than 39 million US households have an HDTV set yet 43% – or 17 million – either don’t have or don’t watch HD content.

The Nielsen findings also showed that the average household has 2.6 sets (2.0 SD sets; 0.5 HD).

Among homes with HDTVs, the average is 3.0 sets (1.4 HD; 1.6 SD).

Steve McGowan, Nielsen’s SVP of client research initiatives, said in a blog post the results showed that not since color TV was introduced more than 50 years ago has a new TV technology been so rapidly adopted.

"And despite the recession, Americans seem willing to continue to spend their hard-earned money on this new technology," he said.

Other Nielsen findings include:

  • HD penetration was greatest among Asian homes (41.8%) followed by white (34.3%), Hispanic (32.0%) and African-American homes (25.9%)
  • 62.7% of all HD sets in the U.S. were located in common areas
  • More than 75% of all tuning on HD sets happened in living rooms or other common areas
  • A higher percentage of HD sets (30.6%) were attached to video game consoles than were SD sets (19.9%)

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