Consumer Reports finds mass confusion among public over DTV

There is significant confusion among consumers about the looming transition to digital television (DTV), according to a new survey from Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Seventy-four percent of respondents that indicated they were aware of the transition have major misconceptions about its impact. The poll also found that 36 percent of Americans living in households with televisions are entirely unaware of the Feb. 17, 2009, transition to DTV.

Even among those who are aware of the switch to digital broadcasts there is rampant confusion about what it will require of consumers. Among those consumers who are aware of the transition, 58 percent believe alltelevisions will need a digital converter box to function, 48 percent believe that only digital televisions will work after 2009 and 24 percent believe they will need to throw away all of their analog TV sets.

Consumer Reports found a staggering lack of awareness and confusion among consumers about the DTV transition:

  • Of those who will have at least one TV affected, 61 percent incorrectly believe they are not affected, do not know that they are affected or are completely unaware of the transition.
  • Thirty-one percent of Americans in households that will have no functioning television after Feb. 17, 2009, were completely unaware the transition was happening.
  • Thirty-three percent of consumers completely unaffected by the transition also plan to buy a converter box, and 31 percent plan to purchase a new DTV set with a built-in digital tuner.
  • Although purchasing a converter box is by far the most popular action planned by those aware of the transition, 73 percent are unaware of the government coupon created to offset the cost of purchasing one of these boxes.

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