Over-the-air DTV from six or more stations reaching 75 percent of U.S. TV households

Nearly 75 percent of U.S. TV households are in areas served by more than six over-the-air DTV stations, and fewer than eight percent of those in DTV markets live outside the coverage area of digital television signals, according to a new report from BIA Financial Network put together for the Association for Maximum Service Television.

The newly released report, entitled “Reaching the Audience: An Analysis of Digital Broadcast Power and Coverage,” was written by Mark R. Fratrik of BIA Financial Network and released Oct. 17.

The report evaluated the efforts of local stations in the transition from analog to digital service by “examining the availability of DTV signals to the American public with the present power levels of these stations.”

Some, particularly those representing the interests of consumer electronics manufacturers, have criticized television broadcasters for failing to transmit digital signals at full power. They have contended that the lack of DTV coverage is an impediment to “jump starting” consumer demand for DTV sets.

Fratrik’s report contends such criticisms are misguided and that the real measures of success or failure of TV broadcasters in helping to “jump start” the transition are how many stations transmit digital signals, the population covered by those signals and the popularity of those stations in their markets.

Among the report’s key findings are:

  • 73.7 percent of TV households are in markets with at least six over-the-air DTV stations.
  • 92.7 percent of the replication area populations of DTV stations on-the-air currently are being served by those stations. A replication area is the geographic area to be covered under a station’s initial DTV assignment.
  • More than 70 million TV households are reached by six or more over-the-air DTV signals.
  • More than 49 million TV households are reached by nine or more off-air DTV signals.
  • More than 30 million TV households are reached by 12 or more over-the-air digital signals.
  • The most popular TV stations have operational DTV facilities that serve most, if not all, of their replication areas.

To read the entire report, please visit: http://mstv.org/docs/DTVRptFinal.pdf.

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