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DTV Transition Awareness Rises

Some 43% of adults have heard of the digital TV transition that will take place Feb. 17, 2009 – up from 33% a year ago, according to a new survey by Leichtman Research Group.  However, few actually understand, or even care about, how the digital transition will affect their household.

Leichtman Research’s survey found that among those who have heard of the digital transition: 37% strongly agree that they understand how the digital transition will affect their household, while 35% strongly agree that they care about how the digital transition will affect their household.

The findings are based on a survey of 1,300 U.S. households and are part of Leichtman Research’s study, HDTV 2007: Consumer Awareness, Interest and Ownership.

Leichtman Research estimates that there are about 35 million TV sets in households that currently do not subscribe to a multichannel video provider (and a similar number of over-the-air only television sets in multichannel video households).  Among the group of non-subscribers to a multichannel video service – that will be most impacted by the digital transition – overall, 19% are both aware of the digital transition and strongly agree that they understand how the digital transition will affect their household.


That percentage is in keeping with a recent survey results from the Consumer Electronics Association in which 22% of analog TV-owner respondents indicated that they plan to "do nothing" about the transition. 

In addition the Leichtam survey found that 56% of those in households with an annual income of more than $75,000 say that they have heard of the digital transition – compared to 36% of those in households with an annual income under $75,000

“February, 17, 2009 is now less than 15 months away, yet the majority of Americans remain in the dark about the consequences of the digital TV transition that will occur on that day,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research, said in a statement. “With tens of millions of TV sets currently receiving only analog broadcast TV, much work will need to be done over the next 15 months to build awareness of the digital transition and drive whatever consumer action is needed to prepare for it.”