Digital TV switch stalls near finish

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Less than two months before the digital television transition takes place, the Nielsen Co. said that more households than ever before are ready for the switch. But it also said the pace of the analog-to-digital switch has slowed during recent months.

Nielsen said Friday that 6.8% of the nation's TV households in December were completely unready for the transition, down from 7.4% in November and 7.7% in October. About 10% of TV households were not ready for the transition as late as May, so a fair amount of progress has been made.

Still at the 10% mark, though, is what Nielsen calls "partially unready," a category that denotes there might be a digital-ready TV set in the house, but other sets are not and will go dark Feb. 17, when federal law mandates broadcasters turn off their analog signals. That's down from 10.3% in November and 11.9% in May.

Nielsen said Hispanic households are, on average, less ready than non-Hispanic households. In December, 11.5% of Hispanic households were completely unprepared and 6.2% were partially unready, compared with 12.4% and 6.7%, respectively, in November. Those respective figures stood higher in May, at 14.4% and 9.2%.

Among its 56 metered markets, Nielsen said Albuquerque, N.M., is the least prepared (13% completely unready), while Hartford-New Haven, Conn., is the most prepared (2% completely unready).
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