A recent study is claiming that some consumers will stick with their antennas to receive signals once the transition to all digital signals is completed on Feb. 19, 2009.
Almost half of over-the-air households will spurn post-transition pay TV from cable and satellite providers, instead preferring to receive free, over-the-air digital TV by either purchasing a converter box or a digital TV set, according to a recent Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) study.
Roughly 43 percent of over-the-air households indicated that they would rather buy a converter box or purchase a digital TV between now and when the transition takes effect, compared with 12 percent who would sign up for a cable or satellite service, the survey found.
"This data indicates that free, over-the-air television may be set for a big comeback," said APTS President and CEO John Lawson. "Many people see broadcasting as a dinosaur technology, but we broadcasters have the opportunity to reposition it as 'wireless TV' and reach new audiences."
The subsidy program, which is administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), has received millions of requests for approximately 2.8 million converter boxes since registration for the program began on Jan. 1.
Congress and several other entities, including the NCTA, have ramped up their efforts to educate consumers on the digital transition. Still, 25 percent of Americans in the survey said they "don't know" what steps they would take, and 19 percent said they would "do nothing." Of those who said they would "do nothing," 17.6 percent of those households said they would postpone or wait before they take any action, if at all.
While more Americans are becoming aware of the FCC-mandated transition to digital TV, most remain unaware as to why the federal government is mandating the change to their TV viewing. Seventy-seven percent of those consumers who are aware of the transition did not know why the federal government has ordered the transition.
"It appears that the government's positive message regarding the reasons for the transition has fallen on deaf ears," Lawson said.
As a result, the APTS survey found that only 18.7 percent of respondents thought the government was on the "right track" with the transition.
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