I recently came across two interesting bits of statistics that put the PVR world in focus.
- 4% of TV homes report owning a DVR (such as TiVo) -- a figure that has doubled in the past 6 months;
- 6% have an HDTV set, up 50% versus six months ago;
- 18% a VCR/DVD dual deck; and
- 5% a PC with a TV tuner.
The numbers sound a bit optimistic (1 in 25 TV viewers has a PVR), and there's no explanation of their sample size or audience on the press release, but the numbers are interesting. I didn't know HDTV had even cracked the 1% mark yet, but I would guess that many of the 6% that own HDTVs just recently bought new televisions that happened to be HDTV, not that they necessarily bought the HDTV deliberately. I'd love to see the percentage of HDTVs that actually are getting over the air, cable, or satellite HD signals. I suspect it's much less than 100%.
I would have never expected to hear that more people can get TV on their computer than all those that own a TiVo like device. That must be great news for someone like Snapstream, though I suspect like HDTV, just because someone can get TV on their computer doesn't necessarily mean they watch TV on their computer or would want to enjoy recorded programs via their computer as opposed to their TV.
The other interesting statistic that has come to light is the trend of average number of channels folks are getting in their homes, over time:
Average Number Of TV Channels Receivable
The Nielsen Ratings folks attribute the trend levelling out and starting a slight decline to DVR use, but like Ernest said over here, the market penetration is just too small (4% if you go with the above data) and that people can only watch so many things before it's too many and for average TV folks, 100 might be that limit.
Personally, I think DVR use allows you to find content on more channels and would send the trend up if more people had a TiVo. Maybe I'm not the average TV viewer, but I'd rather watch the best shows from more networks than more shows from fewer channels. More channels are more work without a DVR, with one, it doesn't really matter.
When I first got DirecTV a couple years ago, I was blown away by the 200+ channels of stuff I might someday watch (ignoring the rest of the 1-999 dial). There are just too many channels, too many shows, and too many schedules to keep track of by hand. My TiVo, on the other hand, can read from those hundreds of channels and just pull down what I want to see. I've used DirecTV without TiVo since, and it sucks. It's just too many channels and you feel lost after a while.
In a way, a TiVo surfing hundreds of channels and just showing me the most recent dozen shows I want is a lot like an RSS reader and weblogs like this one. I bet dollars to doughnuts that folks with RSS readers read more sites, more words, and more information than those that just surf the web aimlessly with a browser. Someone should phone up the Nielsen folks and show them RSS readers.