Tomorrow's DTV transition counts 2+ million stragglers
As the United States sits on the threshold of the switch to digital television, we get to see the size of the "lowest common denominator" of television viewers who after more than two years of public discussion still have not readied their old TV sets for the new broadcast standard
The National Association of Broadcasters says that as of June 3, nearly 9 out of 10 broadcast-only households were completely ready for the digital switchover. According to Nielsen market research, the total number of US television households for the 2008-2009 season was 114.5 million, but homes that consume only free, over-the-air signals is just a small fragment of that. According to the SRI Home Technology Monitor quindecennial survey (PDF available here) found that in 2004, 18.9% of households were broadcast only. Using those figures, that would mean an estimated 2.16 million households remain unprepared for the digital switch.
This is precisely what research firm SmithGeiger LLC and the National Association of Broadcasters said in a statement today, estimating that 2.2 million over-the-air households are still unprepared with only one day until the switch is made. But based upon viewer behavior in the successful Wilmington, North Carolina early transition, the NAB expects that two-thirds of these two million procrastinators will make the transition as soon as signals go unavailable.