HD launch press releases abound this week, as telecompetitors step up their HD game to meet the growing demand for the premium service. Verizon has issued three press releases this week alone, highlighting new HD roll outs. That prompted Comcast to issue a release today crowning themselves the HD king, with a 1,000 HD VOD titles now available. “The Most HD Content Anytime, Anywhere,” they say. DISH announced the expansion of MPEG4 to 32 markets to help facilitate expanded HD. Here’s hoping the economy doesn’t rain on this HD parade.
There is no denying the growing demand for HD. But you have to wonder if much of this most recent demand was fueled by what has turned out to be an unsustainable economic climate. Suddenly that $1,000+ HDTV that was a “no brainer” thanks to easily obtained home equity lines, now looks like an unaffordable luxury. Hell, until recently, you could have even used a credit card that tapped that home equity line, making your buying decision that much easier. By those standards, a 42-inch set seemed awful small. But with the recent economic nosedive, skyrocketing foreclosures, and fewer “make no payments for 24 months” offers, those days are over. Will HDTV sales suffer significantly as a result, thus slowing demand? Somehow, even a $700 set seems like excess these days, even if you can actually afford it. I’m certainly not denying that HD is the future of television – the genie is out of the bottle on that issue. But will HD demand slow considerably, given the tightening economic environment? I don’t see how it can’t. Disagree?