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According to CEA, over-the-air TV households slip to 8 percent of total

The number of U.S. households that rely solely on off-air reception to view television has slipped to 9 million based on the results of a survey released May 31 by the Consumer Electronics Association.

The figure is based on a CEA telephone survey of 1256 adults conducted in December 2010 that 8 percent of all U.S. households last year relied on over-the-air signals for television. A total of 96 percent of the 114 million households in the United States own TVs, thus the extrapolation of 9 million OTA households.

Gary Shapiro, CEA president and CEO, said the findings show dedicating “huge swaths of wireless spectrum” to TV delivery no longer “makes economic sense.”

“Congress should pass legislation to allow for incentive auctions so free market dynamics can find the best purposes for underused broadcast spectrum, such as wireless broadband,” Shapiro said in a CEA press statement announcing the results of the survey.

The study also revealed consumers remain loyal to their pay-TV service. A total of 76 percent of respondents said they were unlikely or very unlikely to cancel the pay-TV service, while 10 percent said they were likely or very likely to do so. According to the CEA, the unwillingness to eliminate pay-TV service indicates there is little threat of customers cancelling service in favor of watching OTA television and Internet video.

According to the CEA survey, almost nine in 10 households pay for television for at least one set in the home. Figures for TV reception in households revealed: 53 percent subscribe to cable; 32 percent have satellite subscriptions; and 10 percent pay for TV delivered via fiber.