07.02.2009 07:55 AM
More Stragglers Make the Transition
NEW YORK: Another 400,000 homes made the digital transition over the last week, according to the latest Nielsen numbers. Since the June 12 switch to digital television, Nielsen says more than 800,000 homes have tuned into DTV. The total number of TV-less homes now stands at 1.7 million, or 1.5 percent of U.S. homes
Nielsen has kept track of the unprepared since the weeks leading up to the original Feb. 17 deadline, when the number of homes that would have lost TV reception was estimated to be 5 million. On June 12, the extended deadline, an estimated 2.5 million households lost TV signals. These are homes considered entirely reliant on over-the-air reception for television service.
Households making the DTV transition after the fact are also reflected in the federal government’s converter subsidy handout program. Orders for the $40 coupons good towards digital-to-analog converter boxes are coming in at a daily rate of more than 115,000 (as of June 24). More than 33.7 million households have been approved for up to two coupons each, and more than 61 million have been mailed out. Of those, nearly 33 million redeemed and 24 million have expired. Around $490 million is left in the program coffers. If the money holds out, tequests for coupons will be taken through July. -- Deborah D. McAdams