FCC Seeks Household Data on TV Sets

Federal regulators announced Wednesday that they are seeking information on
the number of U.S. households with at least one TV set not hooked up to cable,
satellite television, or some other pay TV provider.

The Federal Communications Commission, as part of its annual look into
cable-competition issues, said it wanted information 'on the number of
households that rely on over-the-air reception of local television stations on
one or more of their television sets.'

The data might be hard to obtain. The FCC has data on the number of
households with at least one pay TV connection, but no data on the status of
additional sets. Neither Nielsen Media Research nor the National Association of
Broadcasters has the extra-set data, either.

Some FCC officials have indicated in recent months that the agency needs to
know how many households have TV sets that rely solely on free, over-the-air

Cable, direct-broadcast satellite and other pay TV providers combined have
about 85 percent household penetration, but many of those households likely have
one or more TV sets not connected to a pay service.

Although the United States has about 100 million to 104 million households,
Americans own about 250 million TV sets.