More Than 60 Percent of Over-The-Air Households Converted

The agency doling out coupons for digital-to-analog converter boxes estimates that 62 percent of households relying on over-the-air television have applied for one.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration said 17 million households have applied for coupons, though not all of those are strictly over-the-air reliant. FCC estimates put the number of such households at around 14 million, meaning around 5 million haven’t tapped the NTIA for a coupon, based on the agency’s estimate.

That doesn’t mean those folks haven’t bought a converter box or a digital set, but Nielsen places the number of unprepared homes higher than the Fed's coupon-derived figure.

Nielsen recently estimated that as many as 9.6 million households would be without TV if the transition had occurred in mid-October.

Nielsen said of those households that had prepared, 37 percent did so by subscribing to cable or satellite.

The television markets with the highest coupon application rates include Wilmington, N.C., where the highly publicized early shutdown was done in September; Salisbury, Md.; Myrtle Beach-Florence, S.C.; Quincy, Ill.-Hannibal, Mo.-Keokuk, Iowa; and Charleston-Huntington, W.V.

The markets with the lowest coupon application rates are Juneau and Anchorage, Alaska; Glendive, Mont.; Honolulu; Eureka, Calif.

None of these markets coincided with those that Nielsen estimated to be most and least prepared. On the least list: Houston, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Tulsa, Okla.; Salt Lake City and Milwaukee.

“Most prepared” included Ft. Myers-Naples, Fla.; Hartford and New Haven, Conn.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Atlanta and Philadelphia.