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Over half of US HD TV owners blurry on Blu-ray

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Fewer than ten per cent of US HD TV owners plan to buy a Blu-ray Disc player, local market watcher NPD has said.

The company bases its claim on an online survey carried out around the middle of March - a month after Toshiba effectively killed off the HD DVD format, but still almos three months ago. NPD's results allowed it to calculate that nine per cent of HD TV owning Americans plan to buy a BD player in the next six months.

Factor in the folk who don't already own an HD TV and the figure falls to just six per cent.

NPD was quick to point out, with 40m US homes now containing at least one HD TV, that nine per cent translates to around 3.6m units.

But there's still work for the content and hardware industries to do. NPD found that only 45 per cent of US HD TV owners said they were familiar with the HD optical disc format, indicating that over half of the people in said 40m homes don't know what it is.

True, this time last year, NPD found that 65 per cent of HD TV owners hadn't heard of Blu-ray, but one would have expected that figure to have fallen by more than ten percentage points given all the headlines the format gained by beating HD DVD earlier this year.

Interestingly, many of the people surveyed said they were happy enough with DVD picture quality - a fact given anecdotal confirmation by the large number of Register Hardware readers who say as much in comments to Blu-ray, HD DVD and PlayStation 3 news stories.

Perhaps Toshiba's post-HD DVD plan to push DVD upscaling will prove a more successful move than its promotion of the hi-def format.

Still, of those consumers who have bought into Blu-ray, they're switching their disc purchases accordingly, NPD found. Some 80 per cent of them said their next purchases will be BDs rather than DVDs. Picture quality was the chief reason for doing so.

Only 43 per cent of PS3 owners said they use their games console for viewing BD content at least once a month, so the Sony machine clearly isn't driving demand as much as some of the format's fans may have hoped it would.

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