DTV 'Unready' Homes Drop to Single-Digits
Nielsen Study Finds 9.4% of Households 'Completely Unready' for DTV Transition as of April
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/27/2008 6:46:00 AM
The percentage of TV households without at least one TV set that will receive a full-power TV-station signal after the digital-TV transition declined to single-digits, according to the latest study by Nielsen.
According to a new study by the company, 9.4% of households were "completely unready" for the DTV transition as of the end of April, which translates as no cable or satellite service and no TVs with DTV tuners in them or connected to DTV converter boxes.
That was down from 10.2% at the end of January, before the government started sending out the $40 coupons to subsidize the DTV-to analog converter boxes..
Nielsen said another 12.6% of households are "partially unready," which translates to at least one set that is "ready" and at least one that is not, for a total of 22% of households with at least one unready set. That partially unready number has also been updated from the January report to include some pay cable homes that had inadvertently been credited with completely ready status, according to a Nielsen spokesperson.
The market with the most "completely unready" sets is Milwaukee with 18.3% of households. The market with the fewest is Hartford/New Haven, Conn., with 3.1%.
Spanish-language networks appear to be in the biggest trouble. According to Nielsen, 26.8% of primetime viewing to Spanish-language broadcast networks is to "unready" sets, while that percentage is 17 for English-language networks.
While there were three motths between the reports, Nielsen plans going forward to release the DTV transition status report monthly.
Little comfort for the industry here. 10% "unready" translates into tens of millions of U.S. viewers. And many cable subs still rely on rabbit ears to avoid hookup fees for upstairs sets. When more consumers encounter the inference/reception problems that DTV converter box early adopters are experiencing, the real number of dissatisfied viewers will grow. Many of these folks will need roof antennas to maintain the number of channels they can receive via analog... and the antenna issue has yet to be adequately addressed by the transition campaign.
Adam Smith - 5/27/2008 2:10:00 PM EDT
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