Nielsen: Minority Homes Not Digital-Ready17 Feb, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel
With 12 months remaining before U.S. television broadcasters switch from analog to digital over-the-air transmissions, about 13 million largely Latino households have one or more TVs unready for digital conversion, according to a new study.
Broadcasters Feb. 17, 2009 will switch exclusively to over-the-air digital transmissions.
Based on data used to compile TV ratings, the Nielsen Co. found that 26.2% of Latino households have at least one TV set unable to receive a digital signal, including 17.3% households completely unprepared.
Black households followed with 19.5% owning at least one non-digital TV, including 12.4% with just analog-enabled sets. About 18.8% Asian households have at least one non-compliant TV and 11.7% have only non-compliant digital TVs.
White households fared more favorably with 15.2% partially non-compliant and 8.8% totally analog.
Overall, the study found that 10.1% of all U.S. households would be unprepared if the conversion occurred today. The report mirrors other studies that have concluded a sizable percentage of 117 million TV sets will go dark.
The federal government currently is making available to affected households $40 coupons (www.dtv2009.gov) to help defray the cost of acquiring a digital converter box.
A report from New York-based research firm Centris said homes with weak broadcast signals or inadequate rooftop antennas could hinder digital coverage regardless of an HDTV or presence of a converter box.
Older households (age 55+ regardless of race) are slightly better prepared for the digital conversion (16.4% with one analog TV; 9.4% only analog), compared to households under 35 with 17.3% (one analog) and 12.3% completely non-digital.
Portland, Ore. leads the nation with over-the-air analog TV transmissions at 22.4%, while New York City has just 3.5% non-digital households.
“The change to all-digital broadcasting is the most significant change in the history of television,” said Eric Rossi, senior manager of Nielsen's digital transition team. “Over the past 18 months we have been reviewing every aspect of the digital transition to measure the impact and help clients understand where things stand as we all prepare for the challenges.”