6.5 Million Homes Still Not DTV-Ready

Nielsen’s latest DTV readiness numbers show about half of all over-the-air viewers in the country—6.5 million, or 5.7 percent of all TV households—are still totally unprepared for the DTV transition, meaning they have no DTV converter box, DTV, or subscription video service.

But between Nielsen’s last report—Dec. 21, when 6.8 percent were unready—and the latest study Jan. 18, 1.3 million households have made the move.

And the number of unprepared includes those who have taken steps toward obtaining a converter box using $40 converter-box coupons from the government. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said Wednesday that about 11.7 coupons are now "active," and ready to be redeemed, and viewers are waitlisted for another 2.5 million coupons. The redemption rate so far has been about 53 percent.

Only 4.6 percent of white households are unprepared, compared with 9.7 percent of Hispanic and 9.9 percent of African-American households. Just 4 percent of people over 55 are unprepared.

Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M., again was at the bottom of the preparedness list with almost one in eight TV viewers—12.24 percent—totally unprepared. Portland, Ore., knocked Salt Lake City out of the bottom-5, with 9.08 percent of its viewers unprepared, joining Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Tulsa, Okla., among the least-prepared markets.

Hartford-New Haven, Conn., remained the best-prepared market among the top 56 with just 1.76 percent unprepared, followed by Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston-Marnchester, N.H., and New York.