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Terrestrial TV viewing to decline sharply post DTV transition

The end of analog over-the-air TV in February 2009 will take a big toll on the size of the overall off-air audience, according to a recent survey from ABI Research.

According to the results, 20 percent of the off-air viewers will let their televisions used for analog reception go dark after the Feb. 17, 2009, DTV transition. “Our survey data suggest that the net result of consumers’ choices after analog switch-off will be a drop in overall terrestrial viewing,” said ABI Research principal analyst Steve Wilson.

The research firm’s survey of U.S. terrestrial TV viewers revealed that after analog transmission ceases, 70 percent of over-the-air viewers will connect a digital converter box to their antennas, 10 percent will switch to cable or satellite services and 20 percent will discontinue using the set for broadcast viewing.

Currently, about 15 percent of all U.S. TV households receive terrestrial TV transmission as their primary means of TV reception.

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