Digital Sticks Multiply

The National Association of Broadcasters said Thursday that 59 more stations had put digital signals on the air, bringing the total to 1,292 stations in 207 markets serving more than 99% of the United States.

NAB says that 87% of the 106 million-plus U.S. TV households are in markets with at least five stations broadcasting in digital, with 69% percent in markets with eight or more digital signals. Exactly how many of those households get a digital signal depends on the power level. Broadcasters are currently not required to reach their entire viewing area with a DTV signal.

Still, the vast majority of viewers can receive a number of digital signals since the Big Four affiliates in the top 30 markets are required already to be operating at full power.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.