November 16, 2006 6:06 AM PST

HDTV's turning Americans into couch potatoes

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SAN JOSE, Calif.--The numbers are in, and it appears that high-definition television is getting Americans to spend more time glued to their TV than ever before.

Yay, says Bryan Burns, vice president of strategic planning and development at ESPN HD. HD popularity means better TV sales and more advertising, of course.

Special report
Kickoff for HDTV
Sports programming is helping high-def TV become a mainstream phenomenon and a big moneymaker.

At a minimum, consumers seem to find high-definition TV a more compelling experience. In a survey conducted on behalf of ESPN, 22 percent of sports fans said they watched sporting events they would not have watched because they now have HDTV, while 22 percent of those who do not count themselves as sports fans reported that they watched more sports after going HD.

Meanwhile, 27 percent of viewers described as sports fans said they watched "significantly" more sports, while 44 percent said they watched somewhat more sports after getting HD. Sports fans, he added, spent an average of $2,400 on HDTV sets, while ordinary humans spent $1,525.

Thirty-two percent of respondents said whether a program is in HD influences what they watched.

Burns, who spoke at the Samsung Semiconductor Executive Summit here Wednesday, added that consumers spend a lot of time on ESPN radio and TV properties.

Self-described sports fans consume 1.43 hours of ESPN media a day. When only men who are self-described sports fans are taken into account, the number jumps to 2.08 hours a day.

By 2010, roughly 80 million HDTV sets will have been sold in America. That's a lot of people singing, "Are you ready for some football?"

ESPN has been one of the leaders in HD broadcasting. Back in 2002, the company was in the midst of switching from running its operations on standard analog video to digital broadcasting. Since it realized that it would have to upgrade to HD right afterward, it made both moves at once. Now, 95 percent of the programming that comes out of its Bristol, Conn., facility is in HD.

See more CNET content tagged:
ESPN, The Walt Disney Co., HDTV, sport, TV


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Its True!!!
I am not even a sports fan, but ever since getting my Sony 50 inch 1080P, I find my self unable to flip away from the really good HD shows, like most football games.

In fact I basically stopped watching SDTV channels.

On the plus side though, I watch more PBS HD than ever.
Posted by LarryLo (164 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is news?
You watch alot of tv, you become a couch potato? What about sitting hour after hour in front of a computer, or the horrible diets we all follow cause we don't have the time for a healthy meal or our complete and total lack of exercise?

You're right, it's gotta be watching too much HDTV that's doing it...
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But It's Not Our Fault!
Ah yes, we Americans are getting fatter and more unhealthy every year. But we absolutely must not accept responsiblity for ourselves!

People, we rise up, take to the streets, pull out all the stops, and -- most importantly -- use any and all aspects of our now-perverted legal system to sue the ever-growing pants off the manufacturers of this horrific technology known as High-Definition Television! We must sue the evil big-box electronics mega-stores that have turned us into zombies who descend in droves upon their establishments to purchase this useless garbage! And above all, we must run the purveyors of this "sports and entertainment programming" completely off the map and out of business.

We are already hard-pressed to control our natural urges to consume mass quantities of the addictive, life-threatening, poisonous "food" being shoved down our throats by the likes of Mickey D's, Burger King, Wendy's, Jack-in-the-Box, etc. For the love of all that is holy, how can we really be expected to control our food intake and level of physical activity while being constantly bombarded with advertisement for a "Bacon and Cheddar Ciabatta Burger" (my personal favorite... Damn you, evil Jack!) in such big-screen, high-resolution, digital clarity?


A Conservative, Fat-Ass, Meat-Eating, Dallas Cowboys Fan

PS. It sure was awesome to watch the legendary Emmitt Smith glide into Dancing with the Stars history in full HD clarity while shoving a large pizza down my neck.
Posted by kDog6 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
re: But It's Not Our Fault!
"People, we rise up, take to the streets, pull out all the stops"

But then we would have to get up off the couch! :)
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
just say no
I don't own a television. It is a time waster. Get off your buts and enjoy reality.
Posted by blue922-2146190200522946112563 (241 comments )
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Who is the judge?
What makes the life of someone who runs around being busy so much better. If your responsibilties are taken care of, then your time is for whatever you want to do with it. Why is someone building model airplanes making better use of his time? Or someone who rides his bike? No doubt these are good things to do as well, but not some ethically or morally superior choice. As long as you aren't griping about your weight, health, etc. then so be it. And you can exercise plenty and still watch a load of the tube.
Posted by wayne1776 (1 comment )
Link Flag
reality sucks...
that's why i use drugs! :)
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
I have no numbers to back this up, but I suspect there was a similar bump in viewership when color television had a similar percentage of market penetration. Eventually, the novelty will wear off...
Posted by C.Schroeder (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, until...
...hd porn comes along! :)
Posted by J_Satch (571 comments )
Link Flag
Liek we werent already......
The original TV has already done the job for most.
Posted by Reiley (15 comments )
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