More viewers prepare for DTV transition

With little more than a month to go before full-power broadcasters turn off their analog TV transmitters for good between 2.1 million and 3.5 million over-the-air TV households have not yet taken the steps needed to ensure they continue receiving television, according to two recent polls.

The results of a telephone survey of 1080 OTA households conducted between March 26 and April 8 for the NAB by SmithGeiger show 2.1 million OTA households or 11 percent have not taken action to prepare.

The most recent data from Nielsen show 3.5 million or 3.1 percent of all TV households in the United States remain unprepared. The difference between the estimates of Nielsen, made public April 26, and SmithGeiger, released May 1, appear to stem from how each defines unprepared.

“Unlike Nielsen, our assessment includes two classes of preparedness: those who are prepared now, and those who have demonstrated an understanding and commitment to be prepared by having applied for or received a converter box coupon” said Seth Geiger, president of SmithGeiger.

The distinction between actually being prepared now and committing to being prepared may account for another important SmithGeiger finding: only 82 percent of U.S. households that rely exclusively on antennas for television are fully prepared for the cessation of analog TV transmission June 12.

However, awareness of OTA households of the DTV transition has reached an all-time high of 98 percent, according to SmithGeiger. Additionally, gaps in awareness among African-Americans, Hispanics and the elderly have closed with all three groups being just as prepared as the general public.

Nielsen’s findings revealed that in the two weeks preceding its latest look at consumer DTV preparedness, some 100,000 households moved from the unready to prepared category. Unlike SmithGeiger, which did a telephone survey, Nielsen based its findings on sets and households in the company’s National People Meter panel and local metered panels.