In Depth

3.1% of U.S. Homes Still Not Ready for DTV Switchover

The number of U.S. homes that would lose all broadcasting if the planned analog-to-digital broadcast switchover took place today fell to about 3.5 million, or 3.1% of U.S. households, as many Hispanic families made the necessary adjustments to continue to receive programming, Nielsen said in a statement today.

Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M., remains the least prepared U.S. metropolitan area for the switchover, which is set for June 12.

For TVWeek's comprehensive coverage of the digital television transition, visit the DTV Switch Navigator page.

About 100,000 households became digital broadcast-ready during the two weeks ended April 26, with the number of unprepared Hispanic households falling by almost half a percentage point, Nielsen said. About 5% of Hispanic homes remain unprepared for the switchover, which was bumped back from its original Feb. 17 date.

The percentage of U.S. homes that would go dark after the switchover has fallen about 2% in the past three months as more people either add service with a cable or satellite company, buy a digital-ready television or acquire a digital-to-analog converter box in a government-sponsored program. As of April 29, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration had spent more than $1.4 billion sending out about 56 million coupons to defray the cost of converter boxes.

Albuquerque-Santa Fe, the least prepared metropolitan market a month ago, remains in that position, with 8.8% of the area’s homes completely unready for the switchover, Nielsen said today. By comparison, fewer than 1% of homes in Providence, R.I.-New Bedford, Mass., Hartford-New Haven, Conn., Baltimore and Oklahoma City would go dark if the switchover took place today, according to Nielsen.