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Saying Goodbye to Analog TV…Again!

With just 23 days remaining until the June 12 switch-off of analog TV broadcasts across the United States, Nielsen Media reported at the beginning of this month that the number of homes still unprepared for the transition is down to 3.1%. That amounts to about 3.5 million households. While that’s still a big number, it’s down about 1.5 million homes from Nielsen’s February 18 survey.

You might recall that Congress postponed the original transition date from February 17, claiming at the time that the number of households that were unprepared was unacceptably high. This time, it doesn’t look as if there will be any further delays, with the head of the Commerce Sub-Committee on Communications, Technology & the Internet stating that the transition is on “a very good path. I do not anticipate any further problems.”

African-American households top the list of those still unprepared for the transition at 5.9%, followed by Hispanics at 5.0% and Asian households at 4.1%. Interestingly, households headed-up by older adults continue to do significantly better than the younger set, with the over-55s down to 1.7% while the under-35s are at 5.7%.

The least prepared TV market? That would be Albuquerque-Santa Fe at 8.8%, followed by the 3 major Texas markets – Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Houston.

As outlined in our previous article, the government’s TV Converter Box Coupon Program continues to run. The program allows households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, that can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes. The DTV2009 web site also has a comprehensive FAQ section that will answer any questions that TV owners might have.

Although some have mischievously suggested that the extension to June 12 was to make sure that we all made it safely through the 8th season of American Idol, it’s more likely that we have reached a point where any further extensions would not make a significant difference. As one person commented, it’s not like we’re turning off the water supply. As soon as that snow appears on the screen, the stragglers will catch up in a hurry!      

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