Researcher Predicts 3M Households Will Not Transition to DTV(2)

More than 3 million households who currently watch analog-only TV may just allow those TVs to go dark after the full-power analog shutoff next February, according to a researcher.

A recent ABI Research consumer survey of US terrestrial TV viewers indicated that, after full-power analog broadcasts are terminated on Feb. 17, 2009, 20 percent—approximately 3 million households—surveyed will forgo doing anything to upgrade their analog TV sets and just allow them to go “dark.” A majority—70 percent—of the respondents plan to use a converter box, while 10 percent will switch to pay-TV. The researcher based its results on an estimate that approximately 15 percent of U.S. households get their programming exclusively from over-the-air broadcasts.

“Our survey data suggest that the net result of consumers’ choices after analog shutoff will be a drop in overall terrestrial viewing,” said Steve Wilson, principal analyst. “Terrestrial viewers tend to be more likely to use alternative video entertainment in forms such as DVD rentals and broadband video and the transition may push them further in that direction.”

The survey also found that satellite companies are attracting the majority of viewers that upgrade to HDTV, but that rather than abandoning cable, those new subscribers are former users of broadcast or telco.