Older Americans less prepared for the DTV transition

July 30, 2007

A new study conducted by the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) finds that older Americans are significantly more likely to receive their television signals over-the-air and are therefore less prepared than the rest of the U.S. population for the analog-to-digital transition.

Americans aged 65 and older are consistently more likely to receive television signals via over-the-air antenna than younger Americans, APTS found. Of this group, only 17 percent own a digital TV.

APTS findings cover the period between the first quarter of 2002 and the first quarter of 2007. In the most recent quarter, 24 percent of households with Americans 65 and older received their TV programming over-the-air, while only 19 percent of younger households were over-the-air.

In addition, 41 percent of Americans 65 and older and 55 percent of those younger than 65 have purchased a new television set in the past three years. That suggests that the older viewing population may not be as attuned to recent changes in TV appliance offerings and may not be spending as much time in retail outlets that sell TV sets, the study concluded.

This older population may not be exposed to DTV transition messaging from electronics retailers, therefore, the APTS found they will need special focus in efforts to educate the public about the February 2009 end of analog TV transmissions.

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