Digital transition slows, Nielsen reports

6.8% of households completely unready for switchover

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

Nielsen said Friday that 6.8% of the nation's TV households in December were completely unready for the transition, down from the 7.4% in November and 7.7% in October. About 10% of TV households weren't ready for the transition as late as May, which means that a fair amount of progress has been made with public service campaigns and viewer action.

But still at the 10% mark is what Nielsen is calling "partially unready," which means that there may be a digital-ready TV set in the house but other TVs aren't and will go dark on Feb. 17 when federal law mandates that all broadcasters turn off the analog signal. That's down from 10.3% in November and 11.9% in May.

Nielsen said that 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% completely and 6.7% partially in November. Those figures stood higher in May, 14.4% and 9.2%.

In the 56 metered markets, Nielsen said that Albuquerque is the least prepared (13% completely unready) while Hartford-New Haven, Conn., is the most prepared (only 2% completely unready).