Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 11:49am
DUELING DIGITAL TV STUDIES
Consumer Reports and the National Association of Broadcasters released studies on Americans' awareness and understanding of the digital television transition in advance of a consumer workshop to be held by the Federal Communications Commission today.
* Digital Transition Still Foreign To Many TV Viewers
[SOURCE: Multichannel News, AUTHOR: R. Thomas Umstead]
With the transition to digital television looming, nearly one-third of Americans with analog televisions are unaware of the Feb. 17, 2009 transition and nearly three quarters have major misconceptions about its impact, according to a Consumer Reports national research study. The study found that of those with at least one TV affected by the digital transition, nearly two-thirds (61%) incorrectly believe they are not affected, do not know that they are affected or are completely unaware of the transition, which on Feb. 17, 2009 will end “analog” broadcasts on television in favor of digital signals. Also, close to one third (31%) of Americans in households that will have no functioning television after Feb. 17, 2009 were completely unaware the transition was happening. Among those consumers surveyed by Consumer Reports aware of the transition, more than half (58%) believe all TVs will need a digital converter box to function; 48% believe that only digital televisions will work after 2009; and 24% believe they will need to throw away all of their analog television sets. None of those things are true. According to the poll, 15% of Americans live in households that rely exclusively on over-the-air programming.
* U.S. consumers aware but confused over TV switchover
"As (the broadcasters' survey) notes, the fact that more Americans are aware of the upcoming transition is a big step in the right direction," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said in a statement. "It is equally important, however, as highlighted by Consumers Union, that consumers understand how to be prepared," he added.
* Awareness of DTV Transition Reaches 79%
[SOURCE: Media Week, AUTHOR: John Consoli]
About 78 percent of all consumers are aware of the federally-mandated transition to digital television, which will take place on Feb. 17, 2009, according to a recent survey commissioned by the National Association of Broadcasters. The survey included a national sample of television households, including those that do not subscribe or have access to cable signals and who rely solely on over-the-air TV signals. In fact, according to the survey, awareness was greater among exclusively over-the-air households, where 83 percent of respondents reported that they are aware of the transition. According to the NAB, awareness of the transition has more than doubled since Jan. 2007.
* NAB's Digital TV Study 'Suspect'
[SOURCE: TVpredictions, AUTHOR: Phillip Swan]
[Commentary] According to an article by TWICE Magazine, the National Association of Broadcasters reports that 79 percent of consumers say they have “seen, read or heard something about the Feb. 17, 2009, transition to digital television." A similar NAB survey conducted in January 2007 found that only 38 percent of people expressed awareness of the transition. The NAB study said the new study includes viewers who rely on off-air TV antennas to get their signals, the group that's most likely to need the converter boxes. In fact, the NAB says 83 percent of that group say they've heard of the transition. Local stations began airing NAB-produced Public Service Announcements on the Digital TV transition in response to lawmakers who said they weren't doing enough to educate their viewers. The NAB does not say if consumers know what they need to do to prepare for the transition -- only that they've "seen, read or heard" something about it. That's meaningless. Ask any group of people if they've "seen, read or heard" about almost anything and they will answer yes. What good is that? The real question is whether they are taking steps to be ready for the transition, which is highly doubtful. (Plus, studies by more objective sources have shown that consumer awareness of the Digital TV transition may be 50 percent of what the NAB says it is.) I am also suspicious that the NAB suddenly produces a study saying that their local stations' PSA announcements have been effective. In the research industry, you can get a study to say almost anything you want by simply phrasing the questions the right way. Or, by not asking certain questions that might produce an unwanted response. I suspect that's what happened here.
* FCC Commissioner Adelstein
"The good news is that surveys from Consumers Union and the broadcast industry show that more Americans are becoming aware of the DTV transition. The bad news is there is still a lot of confusion that could turn into widespread panic if the government doesn't take a more proactive role. The FCC needs to present a comprehensive strategy -- a DTV State of the Union -- about how it plans to provide better guidance to the American people. We need to coordinate and work closer with the broadcast, cable, satellite and consumer electronic industries to ensure that no household is left confused by the DTV transition. The word is getting out, but we need a more coherent message to align the mixed signals people are getting."
- Increased DTV Awareness
- GAO Report Questions Stations’ Readiness for DTV Transition
- Study: Most Viewers Aware of DTV Want it Free
- APTS Pushes for More DTV-Education Funding
- Consumers Aware of DTV, but Slow to Act
- Government DTV Transition Not on Right Track
- Study: 91% of Hispanics Aware of DTV Transition
- Many Seniors Unaware of DTV Transition
- In Move to Digital TV, Confusion Is in the Air
- FCC Report on Wilmington DTV Transition
- June 10 House DTV Transition Hearing recap
- DTV Transition Update
- FCC Adopts Digital Television Consumer Education Order
- DTV Transition Awareness Rises
- APTS Study: Viewers Not Ready For DTV Switch