Nielsen: More Americans Plug Into Digital TV Change

old tvNielsen data released Tuesday shows that the number of homes that are still unprepared for the coming digital TV transition has declined over the past month. It now stands at 7.7% of all U.S. homes--down from 8.4% in September and nearly 10% in May.

Some networks that are worried about losing audiences--at least temporarily--may take heart from the declining numbers, but there still may be considerable concern at Univision, Telemundo and other Spanish-language broadcasters.

Figures show that some 12.4% of Hispanic homes are not ready for the February 2009 switchover--although that number is down from 14.4% in May. The decline is almost exactly at the same pace of all U.S. homes.

Overall, the figures suggest that marketing initiatives that alert people without a pay TV service (cable, satellite, FiOS or AT&T U-verse) that they need to take action may be having some effect. Homes that currently receive only over-the-air analog reception will need to upgrade to a pay service, buy a TV with a digital tuner, or purchase a converter box in order to maintain reception after Feb. 17.

The cable industry has launched a major campaign, hoping that people will opt to sign up for its services. And the FCC even sponsored a car in the NASCAR series with an awareness message.



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