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Nielsen: About 8 Million Homes Still Unready For DTV Switch

The percentage of TV households that are completely unready for the DTV switch--as defined by Nielsen--dropped to 7.4% in November, according to the ratings company.

But extrapolated out to about 114.5 million TV homes, that still represents about 8 million homes that still receive their TV exclusively over the air and do not yet have a digital TV or a converter box that would allow them to continue receiving a full-power TV signals.

That is also a difference of only three tenths of a percentage point from the 7.7% that were completely unready in October. The decrease in unready households from August to September was five-tenths of a percentage point, and from September to October, seven tenths.

Congressional Democrats have been increasingly vocal about their concerns

for how many people may lose signals in the transition, not only if they fail to take action, but also because of changes in coverage areas from analog to digital signals that mean some viewers would no longer receive historically-viewed stations.

Hispanic households continue to trail the population in general, with 12.4% completely unready, and the needle has not moved since October, when the percentage was exactly the same.

Hispanics are one of the government's target populations for DTV education outreach because of its higher analog--only TV household population relative to the general population.

And while seniors are another target population, according to Nielsen, the readiest group are those households headed by someone over 55. Only 5.9% of those households are completely unready, compared to 7% where the head of household is 35-54 and a whopping 10.6% for those headed by viewers under 35.

Nielsen is basing its esimates on its national People Meter sample of about 17,000 households, or about 40,000 people.