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Ninety-six per cent of Australians are still confused about High Definition television according to a Newspoll survey.

The survey, commissioned by Samsung Electronics Australia., suggests that fewer than half (44 percent) of Australians correctly think that only certain Free-To-Air TV shows are HD, while many ascribe more benefits to HD than actually exist. For example, the survey says, over half (51 percent) of Australians believe that traditional DVD’s playback is high-definition, which it is not.

Results of the Newspoll survey suggest that the government, broadcasters, manufacturers, and retailers have to make more of an effort to educate Australian consumers on HDTV. Many Australians incorrectly believe that sources such as all digital TV channels (46 percent), Foxtel Digital (54 percent) and all Plasma/LCD TV’s (43 percent) are HD, when in fact this is not necessarily the case.

Designed to investigate the level of consumer awareness around digital and high-definition TV technologies, The Samsung HD Survey reveals a lack of understanding amongst the Australian population in regard to the sources and benefits of High Definition (HD) entertainment.

Four in ten Australians say that none of the benefits described to them would be likely to prompt them to buy a HD TV.
“The quality of high-definition really has to be seen to be believed,” says John Fragiadakis, Technical Marketing Manager, Samsung Electronics Australia. “Comparing the quality of HD to your old TV is like comparing chalk and cheese – the difference is astounding, with the improved image and sound quality creating a more life-like and rewarding entertainment experience. It’s almost as though you’re looking through a window into your TV world.”

Some consumers may think they are experiencing HD, but are not. Sixty-three percent of those who own a HD-Ready TV do not own a HD Set Top Box. This means many are not experiencing the full potential of these systems.  In addition to this, just over forty percent of Australians say they would be likely to invest in HD in order to watch their DVD collection in high-definition; however these consumers cannot do so without using an HD upscaling system such as the Samsung Hypervision DVD Player.

“HD allows your digital home entertainment system to more efficiently capture and process data, creating an image and sound that looks and feels more natural.  But consumers need to better understand how to take advantage of these benefits,” said Mr Fragiadakis. “As consumers learn more about how HD can fit into their everyday entertainment experiences, the greater the attraction for consumers to upgrade to high definition, and enjoy digital home entertainment with friends and family even more.”

Despite these misunderstandings, however, many Australians are interested by the potential to enhance their TV experiences, with 60 per cent looking forward to better picture quality as a reason to upgrade. Next-generation HD console games like XBOX 360 are also playing a major role in driving HDTV adoption, with 16 percent citing the ability to play HD video games as a benefit to upgrading.

While take-up is slow, the Samsung HD Survey did reveal that HD entertainment has already enticed some customers with the technology in its early growth stages. Nine percent of respondents indicated that they already have a HD-integrated TV, while 12 percent cited HD-capable TVs as being a part of their home entertainment systems. As consumers learn more about the benefits of HD entertainment, numbers are likely to increase given a quarter of Australians say they intend to buy a new HDTV in the future.

With the general confusion about HD technologies shown above, it is not surprising the survey also revealed that next generation technologies like Blu-Ray – much hyped as the next generation replacement to DVD – had only a tiny 2 percent of respondents claiming they fully understood the benefits of the technology. An 87 percent majority indicated that they had never even heard of Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray is a new disc technology that offers increased storage capacity over the existing DVD format and movies in native HD format, delivering crystal clear image quality. Samsung will be the first to market with the worldwide launch of Blu-Ray players in late 2006.

“Compared to countries like the US and Japan, where digital TV and high-definition take up has been rapid, the Australian AV industry has a long way to go in helping consumers to understand the benefits of high-definition technologies over analogue TV sets and entertainment systems,” says Kurt Jovais, General Manager – Corporate Marketing, Samsung Electronics Australia. “Consumers are calling on the expertise of retailers, the media and other educational resources, to help the man on the street decipher HD and its benefits. Offering an experience which incorporates cutting-edge developments in AV technology as well as market-leading design, Samsung is the only market player that gives consumers a genuine reason to discover the full gamut of HD entertainment through our TV, movie and gaming solutions.”

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