Percent of Unprepared for DTV Drops Again

Another 700,000 homes moved into the digital TV readiness column, according to the latest data from Nielsen. Between Jan. 18 and Feb. 1, the percent of unprepared households fell slightly from 5.7 percent to 5.1 percent. In total, 5.8 million U.S. households are unprepared, a figure that would probably still alarm Congress, which yesterday (Feb. 4) passed legislation to move the DTV deadline 115 days from Feb. 17 to June 12.

President Obama, who has urged support of the postponement, is expected to sign the DTV delay bill in the coming days.

Contrary to the argument made by several legislators pushing for the delay that older people weren’t prepared, that group is among the most prepared. Only 3.2 percent households age 55-and-older are unprepared compared to 8.6 percent of households under age 35.

African American and Hispanic households remain the least prepared at 8.7 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively.

Primarily, the unreadiness problem is more of a local situation than a national one.

Albuquerque-Santa Fe remains the least prepared market with 12.6 percent of unprepared households, followed by Houston, Tulsa, Dallas-Ft. Worth and Austin.

Other markets have very low percentages of unprepared households, including Hartford-New Haven, Conn. (1.37 percent unprepared), Philadelphia (1.8 percent), Atlanta (1.87 percent), Boston (2.12 percent) and New York (2.23 percent).

While many households might be unprepared, awareness of the DTV transition is high, according to a new poll released Thursday (Feb. 5) by the National Assn. of Broadcasters. The telephone-based poll of 2,650 households, conducted in early January, found that 97 percent either were aware of the switch, knowledgeable that the transition will impact signals or could identify the deadline.