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9.6 Million U.S. Households Still Unready For Digital TV
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9.6 Million U.S. Households Still Unready For Digital TV

Just four months ahead of the nationwide transition to digital TV, more than 9 million U.S. households — 8.4% of all homes — remain unready for the switch to all-digital broadcasting, Nielsen reported Wednesday.

If the transition occurred today, those 9.6 million homes would unable to receive any television programming, while another 12.6 million households would have at least one television set that would no longer work.

In all, one in five U.S. households are either partially or completely unready for the government-mandated switch to digital programming that will occur on February 17, 2009.

Demographic Trends

Households headed by less educated, lower income, and blue collar workers are least prepared for the digital transition, according to Nielsen. Those whose total annual household income is less than $25,000 per year are five times more likely to be unprepared than households earning more than $75,000.

Older, white households are better prepared than their younger, African American, Asian, or Hispanic counterparts.  Thirteen percent of Hispanic households remain completely unready for the transition, as do 12.5% of African American households.

Geographic Trends

Among the 56 local markets Nielsen measures with electronic meters, Houston has the largest percentage (15.8%) of households that remain completely unready for the transition to digital TV.  In contrast, the Ft. Myers, Florida market, with only 2.4% of homes unready, is best prepared for the switch.

Least Prepared Local Markets
Rank Market % Households

Currently Unprepared

for Digital Conversion

1 Houston 15.8%
2 Dallas-Ft. Worth 14.3%
3 Tulsa 14.1%
4 Salt Lake City 13.4%
5 Milwaukee 13.3%
Source: The Nielsen Company (May 1, 2008 – September 1, 2008).

 

Most Prepared Local Markets
Rank Market % Households

Currently Unprepared

for Digital Conversion

1 Ft. Myers-Naples 2.4%
2 Hartford & New Haven 2.6%
3 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce 3.2%
4 Atlanta 3.3%
5 Philadelphia 3.7%
Source: The Nielsen Company (May 1, 2008 – September 1, 2008).

View complete data on digital preparedness in Nielsen’s 56 top local metered markets and 154 local diary markets.

Read Nielsen’s complete report on digital readiness in the U.S.

View the full press release.

Go behind the data: read NielsenWire’s Q&A with Steve McGowan, co-author of Nielsen’s most recent report on the transition to digital TV.

Read coverage of Nielsen’s findings on Bloomberg and in TV Week, Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News, Radio Business Report, and Mediaweek.