Scratching Over Switch

The majority of the American public is unsure about how they will handle the transition to digital television transmission in 2009, and those who are aware of the change in policy are skeptical about the basis for it, according to the 2007 State of Digital and Internet Television study by Horowitz & Associates.

The survey said a full 60% don’t know how the digital transition would affect them personally. Only 27% were able to come up with an answer, unaided, for how they plan to prepare their households for the transition.

The smallest percentage in this category, 2%, said unaided that they are digitally prepared; 7% said they know it’s coming; 4% said they knew they’d need to upgrade a TV and another 4% said they’d need a converter box.

The results mirror survey data recently released by the National Association of Broadcasters, which stated that 60% of consumers are unaware of the digital transition.

When consumers were asked if they knew the “why” behind the transition, only one or two respondents in the whole survey said anything about spectrum reallocation. The majority (67%) said they couldn’t think of a consumer benefit for the digital mandate.

Seventeen percent think the change is to benefit hardware manufacturers, and 13% indicated they were aware the change was necessary for technical reasons.

Cable may be the first choice of many as a digital option following the transition, for 26% in the survey said they’d turn to their local operator for a digital device, but 20% said they’d buy a converter at retail. Only 3% said they’d turn to a satellite provider for digital hardware, according to the survey.