6.5 mn US homes still unprepared for the switch to digital television

MUMBAI: More than 6.5 million US households – or 5.7 per cent of all homes - are not ready for the upcoming transition to all-digital broadcasting and would be unable to receive any television programming at all if the transition occurred today, says US media research company Nielsen.

This is an improvement of more than 1.3 million homes since Nielsen reported readiness status at the end of December.

Under government-mandated action, all television stations are required to switch to digital programming by 17 February, 2009, which will leave viewers without a television signal unless they purchase digital television sets, connect to cable, satellite, and alternate delivery systems or purchase a converter box.


Nielsen‘s information is based on the same national and local television ratings samples that are used to generate national and local television ratings.

To conduct the survey, Nielsen representatives observed and tabulated the actual televisions used in its samples. Because Nielsen has developed samples that reflect the total US population including African American and Hispanic populations, these household characteristics in the samples can be projected to the whole country.


Nielsen Vice Chair Susan Whiting says, “Nielsen has been preparing for the transition to digital television for more than two years. Because we recognise that accurate and reliable information on consumer behavior is essential to this transition, we’ve been sharing our data with clients, government leaders and the public so they could track progress to digital readiness.”

Nielsen Hispanic/Latino Advisory Council (HLAC) Ernest W Bromley says, “There are still millions of people who will be adversely affected because they are not ready for the digital transition. So it’s critical that we provide them with the information and resources they need to stay connected with the world."

Local Market Rankings : Among the 56 local markets that Nielsen measures with electronic meters, the one that is least ready is Albuquerque-Santa Fe, with 12.4 per cent of the households completely unready. The most prepared market is Hartford and New Haven, with only 1.8 per cent of homes unready.

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