According to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, only about 43% of over-the-air households in Hawaii have applied for DTV-to-analog converter box coupons.
That comes with only about a month until the state switches to DTV at noon on Jan. 15, more than a month earlier than most of the rest of the country.
According to NTIA, through Dec. 7, 9,990 applications had been approved from households self certifying that they were analog-only. That is out of a total of 23,290 over-the-air only households, according to Nielsen.
And those are only the coupons that have been applied for. NTIA does not have information on how many of those have been redeemed and the converter boxes bought and tested. But a lack of coupon requests does not translate directly to unpreparedness. Some folks may have bought converters without using the $40 subsidy, while others may have signed up for cable or satellite service or upgraded to a DTV set.
The good news on the converter box coupon front, says NTIA, is that more requests were coming in from the state in December than November, which itself saw a 100% increase over October. Not surprising since that was the time frame for the announcement that the state would make the switch early for environmental reasons. The switch was prompted by conversations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which advised stations to "deconstruct" their analog facilities early to avoid the Hawaiian petrel (a bird) breeding season on the island of Maui.
The FCC has launched a Web subsite about that switch.
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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.