Nielsen said Tuesday that the number of TV households "completely unready" for the DTV switch declined from 8.4% of TV households in September to 7.7%, the biggest decline in the past six months.
Since there are 114,500,000 TV households, according to Nielsen, that would mean if the switch to DTV happened today, about 8.8 million households would not be ready, meaning they do not have a DTV set, an analog-to-digital converter box or cable or satellite service.
The “completely unready” figure is down from 9.8% in May as broadcasters and the government continue to alert viewers to the switch via public service announcements and outreach efforts.
Nielsen says that Hispanic viewers, who tend to have a larger percentage of over-the-air viewers, continue to lag their non-Hispanic counterparts, with 12.4% completely unready vs. 7.1% for non-Hispanic households.
Those households have until Feb. 17, 2009 in most areas of the country, though a few stations/markets will make the switch earlier due to weather and other factors.
Nielsen said that for October, 10.7%, or an additional 15 million homes are partially unready, down from 11% in September, meaning they have one or more set not currently able to receive a digital signal. Some of those sets may be being used for other purposes, however, including as monitors for video players or gaming.
The percentages are based on Nielsen's National and local People Meter Samples.