Nielsen Says 5.8 Million Still Unready For DTV

Figure is down 700,000 from mid-Jan estimate, minority populations continue to trail in readiness

The number of TV homes unready for the transition to digital, as of Feb. 1, is 5.8 million, or about 5.1% of the country, according to Nielsen data.

By unready, Nielsen means homes that do not have cable or satellite service, a DTV set or a converter box hooked up, though it concedes some of those households could have the boxes but just not yet hooked up.

That 5.8 million figure is down 700,000 from its estimate of 6.5 million on Jan. 18 , a number much used by Democrats in their successful effort to get the DTV transition date moved from Feb. 17 to June 12.

Minority populations continue to trail in DTV readiness, however, with 8.7% of African American households unready, 8.5% of Hispanic households unready; and 6.3% of Asian households.

Although seniors are considered a high-risk population for DTV education, the over-55 demo continues to lead in readiness, with only 3.2% unready compared to 8.6% for those under 35.

Albuquerque continues to be the most DTV-challenged market, with 12.63% unready, while Hartford-New Haven is in the best shape with only 1.37% unready.

Nielsen's projections are based on a sample of about 37,000 metered households.