7% of U.S Homes Rely on Over-the-Air TV: CEA Study

About 7% of U.S. TV homes rely solely on over-the-air signals to get TV programming, the Consumer Electronics Association found in a phone survey of 1,009 adults. That's down 1% from the findings of a 2010 CEA study, the group said.

That’s also down a couple notches from a 2012 Nielsen study showing that 9% of all U.S. TV homes are over-the-air only, down from 16% in 2003. 

“The vast majority of Americans no longer rely on over-the-air TV signals,” said CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro, in a statement regarding the new study “Consumers have moved away in droves from traditional broadcast television thanks to a surge in programming alternatives available through wired and wireless broadband connections.”

He said this trend means “Congress had it right when they authorized the FCC to hold voluntary broadcast spectrum incentive auctions to reallocate broadcast television spectrum to greater uses, like wireless broadband. This study provides yet another reason why it is time for broadcast spectrum to be reallocated, and quickly.”

The CEA study, U.S. Household Television Usage Update, also found that 83% of U.S. TV homes get TV programming via traditional pay TV services, down five percentage points in the number of homes using those services since 2010.

CEA Market Research conducted the study in June 2013, combining 659 interviews conducted by landline phone and 350 via cell phone.

The National Association of Broadcasters found fault with the research.

"CEA's findings strain the bounds of credibility, beginning with the fact that its alleged 'research' was conducted by CEA staff members rather than an independent firm,” said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton. “Contrast that with the recent independent study by GfK, a world-recognized consumer research firm, that found that 19.3 percent of homes rely exclusively on over-the-air television. Moreover, CEA surveyed barely 1,000 people, compared to the more than 3,000 homes that participated in the GfK study.