Census makes sense of TV ownership


Question #1: Did you know that most US households have a television set? Question #2: Is question #1 just about the stupidest thing you’ve read all year? The US Census Bureau has put out a compendium of facts and figures on television use, in honor of the upcoming DTV transition: Here are some highlights, direct from the government to you:

* 110M: The number of households with a television set in 2006, compared with 76M households in 1980.

* 98.2%: Percent of all households with a television set in 2005, which is unchanged since 1999.

* 2.6: The average number of television sets per home in 2005. In 1980, that number was 1.7.

* $273M: Estimated sales for analog televisions in 2007, down from $5.8 billion in 2003.

* $26.3B: Estimated sales for digital TV sets and displays in 2007, up from $8.7 billion in 2003.

* 73.2M: The number of households with cable television in 2006. Two-thirds of households with a TV have cable.

* 1,704: The projected average number of hours an individual (12 and older) will spend watching television in 2008. That comes out to 4.7 hours of TV watching per day. In 2000, the average number of hours spent watching TV was 1,502, or 4.1 hours per day.

* $364.79: The projected average amount consumers will spend on cable and satellite TV in 2009. In 2000, the average amount was $173.58.

* $41.17: The average monthly basic cable rate in 2006, up from $6.50 in 1975.

* $38.3B: Revenue for broadcast television in 2006.

* 38.4B: Revenue for cable television and other subscription programming in 2006.

* 90 days: The number of days after a coupon has been mailed before it expires.

* 10M: The number of people who have asked the government for the $40 coupons as of April 8, 2008.

* 2: The number of coupons that can be requested per household.

* 11,448: The number of retailers in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who will accept the digital-TV converter box coupons.

* March 31, 2009: The last day consumers can apply for up to two $40 digital-TV converter box coupons.

* 1: The number of states that the Federal Communications Commission has designated as an early test site for the transition from analog to digital TV. The test begins Sept. 8 in Wilmington, N.C., five months ahead of schedule.

* More than 1,600: The number of television stations in the United States already broadcasting digital programs.

* More than 1,800: The number of channel assignments for broadcasting following the DTV transition on February 17, 2009.

* $39M: The amount that the USDA Public Television Digital Transition Grant Program has awarded for rural digital transition projects in 28 states since its inception in 2003 (grant rounds and awards took place during these years: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007).

* $4.97M: The amount of USDA Public Television Digital Transition Grant Program money that was made available in fiscal 2008 to eligible public television stations serving substantial rural populations to help in transitioning to digital broadcast television transmission. Awards are expected to be announced by early fall.

* $1.86M: The grant amount awarded to Mississippi Public Broadcasting in 2007 for two projects to enable several counties in the Hurricane Katrina-damaged Mississippi Delta region to upgrade coverage and receive a digital public television station signal for the first time.