K.C. Neel An exclusive Cable World consumer survey of 1,000 adults indicates that nearly 12 million high-definition TV sets will be sold in the foreseeable future, nearly half of them within the next year. This would mean that the total number of HD sets in use should double to about 11 million by this time next year. The survey also indicates that a majority of people who intend to buy hi-def sets will choose cable as the provider of HDTV service. The survey, conducted by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence in Oradell, N.J., as part of its monthly TIPP consumer omnibus poll, has a margin of error of 3.5% at the 95% confidence level. The results, broken into various demographic and regional categories, appear on these pages and on page 22. The bad news is that nearly 90% of those polled have no intention of buying into hi-def anytime soon. This, however, may reflect a lack of knowledge about program offerings. For example, DirecTV was a minor satellite service until it began offering the National Football League’s Sunday Ticket package. It grew rapidly once that package became available. Dozens of NFL games in the 2003 season will be televised in hi-def by CBS, ABC and ESPN HD. Among the findings of the survey: For those planning to purchase an HDTV (base = 110), the vast majority (90%) are planning to do so within two years or less. More specifically, 25% plan to make their purchase within the next six months, 27% within six to 12 months and 37% within a year or two. African-Americans were more likely than whites to plan on purchasing an HDTV (17% vs. 9% of whites), as were men (14% vs. 8% for women) and younger Americans, with 18-44 year olds (14%) being significantly more likely to purchase an HDTV than older Americans (8% of those aged 45 or older). Upscale households (15%), up & coming singles (15%), retirees (14%) and affluent families (12%) are significantly more likely to purchase an HDTV compared to downtown residents (4%) and young adults (3%). Of those planning to purchase an HDTV, more than half plan on using digital cable service (52%), while one-third plan on using satellite (34%) — e.g. Dish Network or DirecTV. A relatively small proportion of those planning to purchase an HDTV will use free, over-the-air service via antenna (6%), and approximately 8% have yet to make a decision regarding the service they will use. A significantly greater number of those earning more than $75K will use satellite service compared to those in the $30-$50K income bracket (54% vs. 26% respectively). Southerners (54%) are significantly more likely than Midwesterners (17%) and those living in the West (30%) to use a satellite service once they purchase an HDTV. It is interesting to note that younger Americans who plan on purchasing an HDTV do not show the same enthusiasm toward satellite service that their parent’s generation shows (21% of 18-24 year olds vs. 48% of those in the 45-64 age range said they would use satellite service). Lifestyle differences impact the type of service that will accompany the purchase of as HDTV. Up & coming singles (84%) are significantly more likely to select digital cable compared to retirees (46%), city dwellers (47%) and factory & farm workers (52%).