More than 4 in 5 Most At-Risk Homes Fully Ready for Digital TV Switch

May 1, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC — A new poll released today by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) found that 82 percent of American households relying exclusively on antennas to watch television are fully prepared for the nationwide switch to digital television (DTV).

Only 2.1 million (11 percent) over-the-air television households have not yet taken action to get ready for the transition, according to the telephone survey of 1,080 broadcast-only households conducted March 26 - April 8 by SmithGeiger LLC. The transition greatly impacts over-the-air only households, which risk losing reception unless they upgrade their television sets to DTV before the June 12 deadline.

"Our estimates represent a definitive look at preparedness among over-the-air households, proving that Americans are unequivocally getting the message and turning it into action," said Seth Geiger, president of SmithGeiger LLC. "Unlike Nielsen, our assessment includes two classes of preparedness: those who are prepared now, and those who have demonstrated an understanding and commitment to being prepared by having applied for or received a converter box coupon."

Awareness of the DTV transition among over-the-air households nationally has hit a record high of 98 percent. The survey also showed that the gap in awareness and preparedness among African-Americans, Hispanics and the elderly - groups that lagged in earlier phases - has closed, and these populations are now as equally prepared as the overall population.

Prepared OTA HouseholdsTotalAfrican-AmericanHispanicSeniors (65+)
April 200982%82%80%86%
January 200951%43%53%55%

"These findings demonstrate a dramatic acceleration in preparedness among our most vulnerable populations just six weeks shy of the transition," said NAB Vice President for DTV Transition Jonathan Collegio. "Almost everyone knows about the transition now – by and large, the only folks left may simply be procrastinating or may believe the date might change again."

By law, all full-power stations must broadcast exclusively in digital by June 12, 2009, although some stations plan to switch prior to that date. NAB is leading a public awareness campaign valued at more than a billion dollars to educate Americans about the DTV transition.