Millions still not ready for US switch off

Chris Forrester

US electrical retailer stores have been ultra-busy supplying new TVs and converter boxes, but still the best estimates are that some 2.8m homes have no means of viewing digital signals. The USA’s analogue over-the-air network TV systems go dark later today (June 12).

Ratings agency Nielson’s final analogue countdown, on June 10, says there are about 2.8m homes still unready for the transition to digital. This means that these homes do not have a digital-ready TV, or some sort of set-top box, or are not hooked into cable or satellite TV.

The Los Angeles market, arguably the home of TV, has the most ‘unready’ homes, said to number 252,000 (some 4.46% of the local market) while Albuquerque, in New Mexico, has the highest percentage of unready homes (at 7.58%, or 52,000 homes). It is no surprise that these areas have a high number of non-English speaking residents, and it has always been a major worry that the ‘get converted’ NAB and industry messages would find problems in these areas.