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T-Minus 1: NAB Estimates 88 Percent Readiness

WASHINGTON: The National Association of Broadcasters today said that around nine of 10 households that rely exclusively on over-the-air TV were prepared for the DTV transition as of June 3. The NAB’s latest count indicates a readiness rate of around 88 percent of broadcast-only households, translating to around 2.2 million. Nielsen recently put the number at 2.8 million, but the two groups have disagreed based on what NAB figures are converter boxes laying around waiting to be hooked up.

Exempli gratia, of those 2.2 million households, the NAB estimates that three percent have either applied for or already received converter-box coupons from the federal government. The remaining 1.75 million have yet to take action, the NAB figured. The telephone survey of 948 current and former over-the-air households was conducted May 31 - June 3 by SmithGeiger LLC. The margin of error is 4.2 percent.

“This poll shows that as the deadline inches closer, many procrastinators are taking action and finalizing preparations for the switch to digital,” said Seth Geiger, president of SmithGeiger LLC. “However, nine percent of over-the-air households appear stubbornly resistant to taking any kind of action to upgrade. Of this group, 21 percent still intend to apply for a coupon and 32 percent feel they still have time to get ready in the final week. As seen in Wilmington, N.C., we expect two-thirds of these viewers will belatedly make the transition as well.”

In NAB’s April survey, 2.1 million broadcast-only households had not taken any steps toward preparedness. Broadcast-only households that do not upgrade to DTV by tomorrow will lose reception.

The telephone survey of 948 current and former OTA households was

“In a free society, we would never expect to see 100 percent consumer participation in a technological change like the digital television transition,” said NAB’s DTV vice president, Jonathan Collegio. “The broadcast television industry, from major networks to small market stations, took upon itself the massive job of raising public awareness of the transition to complete and total saturation. Despite the dramatic success of these efforts, some viewers will make a conscious decision to not upgrade, and that is their choice. Over time, however, we expect many of these viewers to eventually make the switch to enjoy the tremendous benefits of free digital television.”