Nielsen: More Prepared For DTV Switch

Had the digital transition not been delayed, Nielsen figures suggest that more than 5 million U.S. homes would have lost all TV reception Tuesday morning.

Nielsen said Wednesday that some 4.4% of households--some 5 million--are still not ready for the analog-to-digital transition, which is now scheduled for June 12.

Nonetheless, Nielsen figures suggest that consumers have increasingly plugged into the coming switchover. Since Feb. 1, 800,000 homes have taken the necessary steps to ensure they do not lose TV service.

The transition date, originally Feb. 17, was postponed. The Obama administration pushed for the delay, citing the number of poor, elderly and minority people who were unprepared for the digital switch. The Albuquerque-Santa Fe market continues to be the least prepared, Nielsen said, with about 12% of homes unprepared. Houston is next at some 9%.

Nielsen figures show that about 7.4% of Hispanic homes are unprepared. And both markets have large Hispanic populations.



Meanwhile, local broadcasters in many TV markets reported relatively low call volume in the 12 hours following Tuesday's wave of stations that went all-digital, according to an initial survey released Wednesday by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

The findings support data released by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding calls received yesterday by the agency. Of the estimated 12.4 million exclusively over-the-air TV households that were impacted yesterday when 421 stations switched to digital, the FCC reported only 28,000 viewer calls - an incredibly small percentage of those affected. While call volume has generally been low, there were some hotspots that received more calls due to unique market situations.

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