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2.5 million homes still haven't switched to digital TV for some reason

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 18th 2009 8:01AM
tvEarlier this year, when we were going to switch to digital television in February, my sister sent me an e-mail and asked me if I was ready for the switch, and I thought to myself, I think I've been ready for several years. So I'm not quite sure why people are still having a problem switching from analog to digital (I'm especially confused when people say that older citizens use TV as their "lifeline" to the outside world - if you're using words like that, you really should switch or your family should switch for you).

Nielsen is reporting that 2.5 million homes still haven't switched to a digital TV or bought a converter box, even though that original switch date was extended to last Friday. I'm wondering why these people haven't switched yet. I'm not talking about people who have a TV but really don't watch it because they read books (as if you can't do both, but that's another rant). I'm talking about people who watch TV a lot and haven't made the switch yet.

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Heather Nicholson

I bought 2 converter boxes and didn't need them because I have cable. I thought I didn't want to get caught without television especially with 3 young kids. God forbid they miss spongebob. Some people don't know how to hook up the boxes and are waiting on someone to hook them up for them. I don't know about you but when you have VCRs and DVD players and all that other equipment hooking up another piece of equipment can be difficult.

August 12 2009 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hello idiots,
It is obvious I believe that the majority of the people who have not switched have not done so because they can't afford it. Period. Everybody wants your money. There is just not enough to go around.

June 28 2009 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Whoops. "Of", not "or". Pardon my typos.

June 28 2009 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm not particularly surprised by the number or households that didn't switch. I can readily believe that there are that many Americans who (1) didn't understand the nature of the change or the need to adapt, or (2) believe the nuts who told them that the converter box was a mind control device. We are not a bright people.

June 28 2009 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe these people heard that ABC was throwing (up) Nightline 5 nights a week at 11 EST.

Over the air television has become completely unwatchable and uninteresting.

June 20 2009 at 7:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's a big number of homes, but a relatively small part of the entire US population. To me this is something out of our control, so we can't really make people switch to DTV if they don't want to, don't see the need to, or just don't know about it.


June 19 2009 at 4:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I knew VERY FEW people who watched TV over the air via an antenna. In fact, other than the people I know who never watch TV and just stick to movies or DVDs of TV shows, I don't know anyone who doesn't have cable. PLUS, I believe many TVs have auto-converters built right in that can handle a digital signal.

How many people, in reality, did this switchover effect? I think far less than people thought. The local cable company tried to sell my mom a Digital TV package (and converter box), even so much as sending it over as if she needed to make the switch. But when I found out they were charging her monthly for the box, I told her to ask if it was necessary, as I was pretty sure regular cable users didn't need any special boxes to receive their signal (since cable carried digital signals). And I was right. And so she returned the boxes and went back to the cable package she was on before.

People THINK they have to get satellite, or digital cable packages, because of this switchover. People THINK they need a new flat panel HDTV because that's all they sell in stores now (mostly) and that's what they equate digital with. And I think a lot of people (on purpose or not) were duped into thinking they needed to buy all this still, even if they had a 20-year-old TV operating the 13-channel basic cable package from their local provider.

I am disappointed that the crappy little B&W 10-inch portable TV I have won't work anymore, though. :P

June 18 2009 at 6:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You seem to be ignorant of the lengths to which they've gone to publicize the switch. It's been plastered all over the airwaves. I have no doubt in every locality. I have no doubt on every broadcaster. It's not in their interest over the last year not to inform everyone... even hicks in the sticks.

Yeah, Bob was really out of line... not like you who suggest these people are living under rocks. We're talking about TV, the very medium where they would've learned that information from... and unless you're suggesting that rubes in the woods are just too stupid to get the message over the last year, your point is moot.

The question this raises for me is about the stats... when they say that 2.5M haven't switched, does that mean 2.5M now without tv? Because as another poster mentioned above, people with cable don't need to upgrade to digital to still get what they want. So, sure, 2.5M may not have switched, but the number now without TV may be vastly less... depending on the stats.

June 18 2009 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

People in areas that broadcast local stations at low power might not see the point in switching to a digital box, since their stations are going to continue being broadcast in analog.
I noticed the other day, when trying to troubleshoot a problem with my digital setup, that my local NBC affiliate broadcasts in low power in the rural areas north of here, and therefore are warning people they won't need their converter box if they live up there. Across the country, that could account for a decent number of people.

June 18 2009 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BC McKinney

What methodology was used to obtain this number? would be a good question to ask. But the converter box coupon program had a lot of problems--I have a primary TV I can watch but I requested one coupon so I could have a second TV without paying $5/mo for a FiOS adapter. First I was on a waiting list because the funding ran out. Then I got the coupon fairly quickly, but the box I wanted that got good reviews--most did not--was out of stock and one of the alternatives was not yet qualified for coupon use. After it finally was, I tried to order it from Amazon but their coupon entry system said my coupon number could not be verified--multiple times at different times of day. Then the coupon expired. If I had been someone who actually needed a converter to continue reception I would have had to call the program's toll-free number for service, and I can only imagine what that would have been like.

June 18 2009 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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