One in 12 U.S. Homes Unprepared for Switchover

Oct 15, 2008  •  Post A Comment

About one out of 12 U.S. households remains unprepared for the switchover to all-digital television broadcasts next February because those households do not own either a digital television or a set-top box that converts digital signals to analog for older TV sets, Nielsen Co. said today.
Almost 10 million homes wouldn’t receive broadcasting if the switchover were to occur today while another 12.6 million households have at least one television that wouldn’t work after the switchover, Nielsen says. Households with incomes less than $25,000 are five times more likely to be unable to receive digital broadcasts than homes with incomes more than $75,000, the research firm reports.
The U.S. government has tried to cut the number of unprepared households by offering $40 coupons that can be redeemed with stores that sell digital converter set-top boxes, which retail for about $60. This year, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration has sent out more than 28 million coupons, with about 11.7 million redeemed for converter boxes as of last week, according to the NTIA Web site.
Among U.S. metropolitan areas, residents of Houston are the least prepared, with 16% of its households without TVs that may receive digital broadcasts, while just 2.4% of households in the Ft. Myers-Naples, Fla., market are unable to watch digital broadcasts, making those communities the most prepared.


  1. This would be a great opportunity for people to limit the number of televisions in their homes. Getting ready for the DTV revolution is a time to think about the environment, health, education and family and spend less time with the screen and more time doing things in real life. Who knows, maybe the change to DTV will cut the obesity rates and raise the literacy rates since fewer people will be able to watch hours and hours of television.

  2. Hey, the answer is right there in the article: most of these people are poor, old or foreign. They have no clout. Forget them…again. And, by the way, many people are dumping their old TV’s for new HD models. These contain massive amounts of lead and other noxious chemicals. Take that, environment! Send the environment a $40 coupon.

  3. WOW! I cannot believe my eyes… both commenters are not very educated at all!
    1) DTV is not totally cutting of, allowing people to viewership of local LPTV, or “CLASS A” tv stations, which are not switching, until 2011. The old sets still work for the mandatory EAS tests, news, WX, (professinal shortcut for weather) and terror alerts. All 7 networks have something workable for news and info, even if its with NBC NEWS, CBS NEWS, FOX NEWS or CNN. Some LPTV’s and CA’s have their own local newscasts too.
    ALSO, for those who want to up the lieracy rate….. Low Power stations do transmit Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow! Cutting off that valuable resouce would not be in assistance to some.
    2) Don’t give your coupon to the environment… Directly or not! Reason being, many need to learn how to recycle TV sets, after they can no longer work, OTA and without conveters.
    3) I’m not poor. But thanks for asking… I am not able to watch digital broadcasts…by definition.. but can get the DTV signals. Its harder to maintain DTv signals, if you get them. But that is not just for the poor.
    4) Has anyone thought that the range of people surveyed, may not be an accurate depiction of the typical US TV household? Afterall, I was never asked, my folks were never aked, and so on. I don’t know of a single person surveyed on DTV preparedness, within the whole USA, from Queens, NY to West Hollywood, to San Fran to Richmond, VA. None of these people are professionals, but were never asked about DTV boxes or reception.
    Point on this on: you really don’t know who is who… but say they are poor. I’m not poor, just as many may not be who are waiting to see what happens.
    I found the above comments very insensitive, unthoughtful, and lacking insight.
    Its hard to believe that people are so crass to others, then hide behind fake names on here.

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