97.8% of US getting DTV


That’s right, folks, we’re taking the glass-is-almost-full optimistic view of the fact that 2.2% of our fellow citizens are without access to television programming right now due to their reliance on old analog receiving equipment in a newly-digital world. The percentage estimate is from Nielsen, and the 2.2% represents 2.5M households. Only 300K households were brought on line during the last week. Meanwhile, numerous citizens who did take steps have lost signals nonetheless.

The number of unready households was whittled down 3% during the last days, from 2.5% on 6/7/09, according to Nielsen. Whites improved 1.9% to 1.6%; African Americans from 5.1% to 4.6%; and Hispanics from 4.3% to 3.6%. For some reason, Asians went in the wrong direction, from 3.1% back up to 3.2% (which Nielsen says is a result in shifting population samples). Those aged 35 and under went from 4.6% to 4.4%, and those aged 55 or older went from 1.3% to 1.1%.

Sporadic problems were being reported all over, and the FCC is dispatching teams to look into situations in some DMAs.

In Philadelphia, ABC WPVI and PBS WHYY were the subject of numerous complaints from consumers who had lost the signals, with the FCC said to be on the way.

In Washington, some were having trouble picking up ABC WJHLA and CBS WUSAIn Nashville, the FCC was said to be considering sending engineering aid to CBS WTVF after an early flurry of consumer complaints, but in this case it appears that many of the individual issues have already been resolved.

In Boston, NBC WHDH was to abandon its temporary digital home on Channel 42 for its old analog and permanent digital home on Channel 7. Unfortunately, the station turned out to lack the necessary power on the Channel 7 facility to reach all of the DMA. It’s simulcasting on both channels for the time being while seeking a power boost on Channel 7.

In the sprawling Los Angeles DMA, many consumers lost access to numerous channels, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In Chicago, ABC WLS was said to be having special and extraordinary issues, with the station itself receiving over 17K consumers calls. The FCC was on the scene offering assistance.

Finally, lack of a converter box actually saved a viewer’s life in the Memphis DMA. A consumer there was watching a TV with converter box in the kitchen, rather than in his bedroom as usual (no converter box there) when a tree came crashing into the bedroom.

RBR/TVBR observation: It’s a shame more people couldn’t get converted over to digital over that last week. If 300K can be brought into the fold weekly, it’ll take a good two months to get everybody on board. And it was a known and inevitable fact that some reception changes were coming. The good news is that the negative stories are few and the problems relatively minimal. 97.8% puts a solid A on your report card where we come from.