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5.8 Million Still Unready For DTV: Nielsen

Nielsen said Thursday that as of Feb. 1 the number of TV homes unready for the digital transition is now 5.8 million, or about 5.1% of the country.

By unready, Nielsen means homes that do not have cable or satellite service, a DTV set or a converter box hooked up, though it concedes some of those households could have the boxes but just not yet hooked up.

That figure is down 700,000 from the measure company's Jan. 18 estimate of 6.5 million, a number that was much used by Democrats in their successful effort to get the DTV transition date moved from Feb. 17 to June 12.

Minority populations continue to trail in DTV readiness, however, with 8.7% of African-American households unready, 8.5% of Hispanic households unready; and 6.3% of Asian households.

Although seniors are considered a high-risk population for DTV education, the over-55 demo continues to lead in readiness, with only 3.2% unprepared compared to 8.6% for those under 35.

Albuquerque continues to be the most DTV-challenged market, with 12.63% unready, while Hartford-New Haven is in the best shape with only 1.37% unready.

NIelsen's projections are based on a sample of about 37,000 metered households.