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One in five homes unprepared for analog shutoff

If the analog shutdown occurred today, 9.6 million households would not receive TV at all, the Nielsen Company has found.

Another 12.6 million households have at least one analog-only TV set not hooked up to a pay-television service or converter box, and those sets also will not work after the transition.

This means one in five homes in the United States is not entirely ready for the DTV switch, with only four months to go.

In a research paper released last week, Nielsen reported that the number of fully unprepared homes decreased 1.4 percentage points from May 1 to Sept. 1, 2008, leaving 8.4 percent of all U.S. households still completely unready.

New details show that households headed by less educated, lower income and blue collar workers are least prepared for the transition. Consistent with trends in previous reports, older, white households are better prepared than their younger, African American, Asian or Hispanic counterparts.

Nielsen also found that nearly a quarter of all unready analog sets are not being used to view regular television. These sets, which are in both partially and completely unprepared homes, are being used for DVD, VCR and video games.