5.1% of Households Still Unready for Digital, Nielsen Says

Feb 5, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Nielsen says the portion of TV households still unready for digital TV has dropped a little, but that 5.1% of households are still unready and that the percentage of African American, Hispanic and households headed by those under 35 that are not ready exceeds 8%.
In its latest report, Nielsen said that overall, 5.8 million households, or 5.1% of the nation, were completely unready for DTV on Feb. 1. That’s down from 5.7% on Jan. 18, a drop of 700,000 households.
For TVWeek’s comprehensive coverage of the digital television transition, visit the DTV Switch Navigator page.
Nielsen views totally unready households as those without cable or satellite and without a TV that can get a digital signal over the air.
In addition to the totally unready households, there are a number of other households where some but not all sets will lose TV in the switch.
President Barack Obama is expected to sign legislation as soon as today that would postpone the national DTV transition to June 12 from Feb. 17.
Nielsen said 8.7% of African American households are totally unready and 8.5% of Hispanic households, compared to 9.9% and 9.7%, respectively, in its January report.
Nielsen also said the percentage of unready homes headed by those under 35 is relatively high and hasn’t been shrinking as fast as in other demographic categories. Nielsen said 8.6% of households headed by those under 35 aren’t ready, down from 8.8% in January.
The national numbers don’t fully reflect wide market-by-market disparities, both in the overall rates and in the rates by minority groups.
Nielsen said the Albuquerque-Santa Fe market still leads the nation with 12.6% of households, down from 12.2%. Among other markets with the most households unready: Houston, 9.6%; Tulsa, Okla., 9.4%, and Dallas, 9.0%.
Nielsen said that in a number of markets, including some big ones, the rates of minority group households unready are higher.
In Phoenix, where 6.3% of the market overall is unready, 16.5% of Hispanic households are unready and the Hispanic statistic hasn’t changed at all from December. In Dallas, 13.3% of African American households and 12.3% of Hispanic households are totally unready, a drop from the 15.7% and 13.9%, respectively, in December. In Houston, 13.3% of African American and 16.2% of Hispanic households are totally unready, down from 14.1% and 17.0%, respectively.
In Los Angeles, where 7.1% of households are totally unready, 9.8% of African American households and 10.5% of Hispanic households are fully unready, a drop from the 11.2% for each last time.
National Association of Broadcasters VP Jonathan Collegio said the Nielsen numbers overstate potential problems.
“Nielsen’s measure of ‘complete’ unreadiness is inflated, because it does not account for people who have not installed their converter boxes yet or those who have coupons but have not yet redeemed them,” he said. “Currently more than 10 million coupons are active but not yet redeemed, and NAB research shows that nearly 40% of converter box owners have yet to hook up their boxes. These viewers may be technically unready in the strictest sense, but they are not completely unready. To get a truly accurate snapshot of consumer readiness, the specific actions taken by these households should be acknowledged.”
(2:45 p.m.: Added NAB comment)


  1. It’s amazing that people are continually focusing on the 5% rather than the 95% OF THE COUNTRY THAT IS READY! Don’t people realize how DIFFICULT IT IS TO GET 95% OF THE COUNTRY READY FOR ANYTHING?

  2. I predict that 2 to 3% of the population will still be unprepared come June 12th. Meanwhile, the delay will collectively cost broadcasters SEVERAL million dollars. Furthermore broadcasting jobs could be lost as managers strive to balance their budgets… Congress clearly has their heads up their bums.

  3. So in other words, 5.1M idiots out there have either been clueless about all of this in the news, in the papers, and on the web since January 18th, or they’ve purposely decided not to do anything for whatever reason;
    If it’s the former, what difference is a few months going to make? If it’s the latter, they’re lazy and deserve to be without television.
    BTW, for those 5.1M people, Christmas is coming up in less than 10 months. Just in case you need the extra time to get ready.

  4. Some great comments there. While I love RJ’s take, I have to piggyback Bill’s comment regarding how inept Congress is. The “accounting” error that has resulted in a huge backlog of people waiting for boxes that they will not get until after 2/17 was the total undoing of that target date. And, with growing constitutencies among african americans and hispanic households there was no way the new administration was going to be blamed for lack of tv signals. Classic bad planning from Congress is resulting in huge problems for broadcasters.

  5. Comfortably, the article is actually the greatest on this worthw hile topic. I concur with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your future updates. Saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the exceptional clarity in your writing. I will directly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. Good work and much success in your business enterprize Stock Market news is the best place to find a Stock market Forum and news.

  6. You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I’ve been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you’re an inspiration to me and i’m sure many others!

  7. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  8. I genuinely enjoy looking at on this web site , it contains great posts .

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)