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Study: 59 percent of Americans are aware of DTV transition

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 26 Mar 2008 3:00 User comments (30)

Study: 59 percent of Americans are aware of DTV transition Frank N. Magid Associates conducted a survey which has found that 59 percent of Americans are aware of the impending February 19th 2009 switch to all-digital television broadcasts in the United States. The same company had conducted a survey six months before which found that only 34 percent of Americans were aware of the switch, showing progress by the U.S. Government and other parties involved in educating the public about the change.
However, the implication that 41 percent of Americans are still unaware that the DTV transition will occur in less than a year is nothing to celebrate. Nevertheless, in homes where it matters - with reliance on over-the-air only broadcasts and analog TV sets - only 37 percent were found to be unaware of the impending change.

While the level of awareness has been raised to the digital switch in the past six months, there also was a rise in the number of people who believed that the transition means that all television programming will be available in High-Definition (HD). Six months ago, Magid found that 23 percent believed this falsity, and in late February the number actually rose to 29 percent.

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30 user comments

126.3.2008 6:43

For us here in Canada, I hope the switch to over-the-air digital broadcasting comes just as soon. It might not.

Right now, digital broadcasting is still only voluntary - not that the broadcasters aren't *scrambling* to conform. Most already have. I guess most stations now simulcast in both formats (for now).

But what about places like Ireland <ahem>, and, say, Europe in general? Or Japan? Or elsewhere?

226.3.2008 9:08
diabolos
Inactive

I believe some places in Europe have switched to digital already. Some places have actually band the use of antenna for TV use all together. Don't worry about Japan; they have had HDTV since the mid-80s.

Ced

326.3.2008 9:34

Quote:
However, the implication that 41 percent of Americans are still unaware that the DTV transition will occur in less than a year is nothing to celebrate. Nevertheless, in homes where it matters - with reliance on over-the-air only broadcasts and analog TV sets - only 37 percent were found to be unaware of the impending change.

Can't wait for the mad scramble this will cause when trailer parks all over the country lose reception from their rabbit ears and skyline antennas. :)

426.3.2008 16:50
goodswipe
Inactive

Originally posted by 7thsinger:
Quote:
However, the implication that 41 percent of Americans are still unaware that the DTV transition will occur in less than a year is nothing to celebrate. Nevertheless, in homes where it matters - with reliance on over-the-air only broadcasts and analog TV sets - only 37 percent were found to be unaware of the impending change.

Can't wait for the mad scramble this will cause when trailer parks all over the country lose reception from their rabbit ears and skyline antennas. :)
LMAO! I was in the bar the other night and this old redneck mofo was so furious over this - LOL!

526.3.2008 23:45

Funny I was going to say the other 41 percent are going to be ticked when they can't figure out how to get their thingamagig to print out their kupon on the doohicky to run to the local wally world for a watchamacallit.
Hmmm let me break out the crystal ball from my fortune teller kit......
I see, yes, yes, it's becoming clear now a riot at the local store after they run out of watchmacallit's. Oh this is bad!

627.3.2008 8:22

Oh yes...it will be grand to watch from a distance. I already know some people fitting the previously outlined descriptions, and just as 'Swipe said...they're mucho pissed about it. Which only makes me giggle a little bit.





727.3.2008 9:14

Originally posted by A_Klingon:
For us here in Canada, I hope the switch to over-the-air digital broadcasting comes just as soon. It might not.

Right now, digital broadcasting is still only voluntary - not that the broadcasters aren't *scrambling* to conform. Most already have. I guess most stations now simulcast in both formats (for now).

But what about places like Ireland <ahem>, and, say, Europe in general? Or Japan? Or elsewhere?
Here in Finland, terrestial network was switched from analog to digital in Sep, 2007 and cable was switched from analog to digital 3 weeks ago. Satellite broadcasts were switched to digital back in late 90s. They started terrestial & cable DTV transmissions back in 2001, so people had more than six years time to get a TV set with a built-in DTV tuner or a 40 DTV converter box. And yet still, 15 percent bought the equipment needed during the last month before the final cut-off date :-)

I think in the UK, cable and satellite have both been fully digital for years now and that they plan to shut down analog terrestial/aerial broadcasts in phases, last analog broadcast tower shutting down in 2012 or so.

827.3.2008 15:03

Originally posted by dRD:
Originally posted by A_Klingon:
... But what about places like Ireland <ahem>, and, say, Europe in general? Or Japan? Or elsewhere?
Here in Finland, terrestial network was switched from analog to digital in Sep, 2007 and cable was switched from analog to digital 3 weeks ago. Satellite broadcasts were switched to digital back in late 90s. They started terrestial & cable DTV transmissions back in 2001, so people had more than six years time to get a TV set with a built-in DTV tuner or a 40 DTV converter box. And yet still, 15 percent bought the equipment needed during the last month before the final cut-off date :-)

I think in the UK, cable and satellite have both been fully digital for years now and that they plan to shut down analog terrestial/aerial broadcasts in phases, last analog broadcast tower shutting down in 2012 or so.
WoW ... that is a huge difference in time frames for different countries !! What's taking everbody so long to get unified ?

So, as of 3 or so weeks ago, I guess Finland is now 100% analog-free?

From your info it would seem that the UK will be among the last for complete digital conversion. (God only knows about the Middle East). For terrestrial OTA broadcasting, the cutoff date in the USA is Feb-17/2009, but here in Canada no firm cut-off date has been announced that I am aware of. (But I wish they'd hurry UP!)

And yes, I can see the same, mad scrambling at-the-last-minute for converter boxes happening in Canada when folks who rely on OTA broadcasts suddenly discover their tv sets 'dark' for the first time.

Right now, I still see a lot of homes and apartment buildings with coax cable tacked onto roofs, running along the eaves and into windows, but the coax has been severed (is not being used) - it's just that no one ever bothered to remove the old wire. So at least digital-conversion is slowly coming around.

(BTW).... It's awesome to see you posting! :)

927.3.2008 15:31

Quote:
Quote:
Here in Finland, terrestial network was switched from analog to digital in Sep, 2007 and cable was switched from analog to digital 3 weeks ago. Satellite broadcasts were switched to digital back in late 90s. They started terrestial & cable DTV transmissions back in 2001, so people had more than six years time to get a TV set with a built-in DTV tuner or a 40 DTV converter box. And yet still, 15 percent bought the equipment needed during the last month before the final cut-off date :-)

I think in the UK, cable and satellite have both been fully digital for years now and that they plan to shut down analog terrestial/aerial broadcasts in phases, last analog broadcast tower shutting down in 2012 or so.
WoW ... that is a huge difference in time frames for different countries !! What's taking everbody so long to get unified ?
I think its really matter of how broadly OTA TV is used in each country, which frequencies it occupies and whether the government of that particular country has any existing plans for the spectrum after its shut down (in here, the freed up spectrum will be taken over by additional DTV channels, as appx. 4 digital channels can fit into one analog channel slot when using SD MPEG-2... HD transmissions are in distant future for Finnish OTA, as it'd require switching to AVC as an encoding method in order to fit similar amount of channels to the free spectrum. And telling people to change their DTV boxes because of change of encoding would... be very, very bad political move :-).

Quote:
So, as of 3 or so weeks ago, I guess Finland is now 100% analog-free?
Yup. Some non-Finnish channels still continue to be transmitted on analog cable, depending on cable company, but ye, basically the whole nation is now analog free. The cable switch was bit silly to be forced by govt, as I think eventually the markets would've forced the cable companies to switch anyway. But, its done now..

Quote:
From your info it would seem that the UK will be among the last for complete digital conversion. (God only knows about the Middle East).
Then again, as far as I know, UK has one of the highest ratios of population using cable and satellite, so OTA broadcasting isn't that big of a deal for most people. Then again, digital OTA in the UK provides same advantage as it does in the states:

It is not controlled by any company, unlike cable and satellite. In the UK, sat and cable providers try (and do) lock their users to use only certain, operator-approved DTV boxes, whereas the OTA is typically fully "open", so any DVB-T compliant DTV box will do. Two-tuner, 500GB PVR boxes that simply record the MPEG-2 stream 1:1 to the HDD -- AND do allow transferring that data unencrypted to PC for burning to DVDR, etc -- cost usually less than 400 euros. And there are tens of companies making them. Nice thing about open standards :-)

Quote:
For terrestrial OTA broadcasting, the cutoff date in the USA is Feb-17/2009, but here in Canada no firm cut-off date has been announced that I am aware of. (But I wish they'd hurry UP!)
Apparently you guys will do the switch on 2011, according to the all-reliable ;-) wikipedia.

Quote:
(BTW).... It's awesome to see you posting! :)
Haha :-) I wish I had time to actually keep up with all the posting going on at the forums, etc as I used to do 4-5 years ago. But the volume of posts is nowadays just so overwhelming that it'd be next to impossible to actually have proper arguments/conversations on most topics :-)

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)
Webmaster
http://AfterDawn.com/

1028.3.2008 8:40

Originally posted by dRD:
... Apparently you guys will do the switch on 2011, according to the all-reliable ;-) wikipedia.
*Thank You* for that link! (It contains other important links as well).

This information affects me directly! (Drat! No OTA digital broadcasts in my area for now). I may wait a bit longer to get my first digital set.

Quote:
(BTW).... It's awesome to see you posting! :)
-----
Haha :-) I wish I had time to actually keep up with all the posting going on at the forums, etc as I used to do 4-5 years ago. But the volume of posts is nowadays just so overwhelming ....
Oh Man, I Hear Ya!

(See? Look what you did. You went and created a Monster!) :-P

1131.3.2008 2:00

The UK has less people on cable and sat than say the Netherlands or Canada. The UK's digital FTA service (Freeview) is quite popular.

Berlin went 100% digital a few years ago now. The Borders region in the UK has just done so as well.

Australia's analog turn off date keeps getting put back. It may happen in 2012, it may not.

1231.3.2008 2:07

Originally posted by 7thsinger:
Quote:
However, the implication that 41 percent of Americans are still unaware that the DTV transition will occur in less than a year is nothing to celebrate. Nevertheless, in homes where it matters - with reliance on over-the-air only broadcasts and analog TV sets - only 37 percent were found to be unaware of the impending change.

Quote:
Can't wait for the mad scramble this will cause when trailer parks all over the country lose reception from their rabbit ears and skyline antennas. :)
quote]
WTF? Are you telling me this piece of Trailor Trash (me) is SOL? Say it ain't so!!

"The flimsier the product,the higher the price"
Ferengi 82nd rule of aqusition


1331.3.2008 3:04

The USA really needs to do this on Super Bowl morning. Mass red neck confusion.

1431.3.2008 6:19

The government-run CBC Network here in Canada (with, presumably, tons of tax-dollars) has just put together, as of March 29th, an all-digital sub-network called "Documentary", and yet it's only available via set-top cable/satellite box. (No OTA).

For a government doing this, (and more - some NHL hockey games are in HD), they sure are taking their sweet-old-time getting digital OTA broadcasts into the majority of Canadian homes. There's absolutely nothing available yet in most major Canadian cities yet, including my own.

Grrrrr.......

1513.4.2008 23:31
UbuntuGuy
Inactive

The last paragraph gave me a giggle because it's so true. My next door neighbor has a tabletop high-def TV. About 2 months ago, I bought a new standard-def TV ... though it's capable of receiving both analog and digital signals. As I was walking up the steps to my house, TV box in hand, he came outside and said, "Ahh, so you FINALLY broke down and got a high-def set." I replied, "No, it's standard-def." He responded with a laugh, "Are you crazy??? If you don't have a high-def set by next February, you won't be able to watch TV anymore."

I smiled and began to explain to him the difference between the standard-def to high-def switcheroo and the analog to digital switcheroo. However (grin), I didn't ask him the obvious question, "Please don't tell me THAT is the reason you bought a high-def set."

1614.4.2008 4:41

HaH !! :-)

Yep - there's still a lot of confusion out there, UbuntuGuy, in the USA and Canada (and elsewhere) about the switchover, and digital broadcasting in general.

I had thought about (just for the hell-of-it) asking an American friend to pick up a set-top converter box for me at one of their local dept. stores, (there's none available in Canada), just to see what my analog tv set would look like. (As noted above, in Canada here, it's not technically necessary for local broadcasters to switch-to-digital for another 3 years). [God!] :-(

But the box would do me absolutely NO good. It wouldn't work at all in fact, because there's nothing here in my area for it to receive.

So - all in all, I can be patient now and wait for the local stores to increase their wide-screen, hi-def, digital LCD TV offerings. Maybe by the time Canadian broadcasters get off their duff(s) with digital OTA broadcasting, the overall price of these LCD sets will come down a bit.

1715.4.2008 1:58
UbuntuGuy
Inactive

A_Klingon,

I'm a firm non-believer in the success of our current high-def rollout. Spending 4 figures on a decent high-def set when only about 10% of all channels are high-def makes no sense, especially in the middle of our current economic mess. When the average Joe and Jill are worrying that their jobs may not be around tomorrow, they wouldn't go out and make such an economic committment.

FWIW, my ex-wife used to work for Matsushita. They closed their plant a couple of years ago to retool ... and after reopening, produced nothing but high-def sets. A year later, faced with unsold high-def sets being returned en-masse by retailers, they closed the plant permanently ... laying off my ex and over 200 of her coworkers.

Unless (A) the economy improves substantially, and (B) high-def set prices come down substantially, I'll be staying put with standard-def equipment. And, I suspect the average middle-class consumer will do the same.

On the analog-to-digital switch, however, it really doesn't matter to most people. Cable and satellite reception rule - and all those people already have a "box" that does the conversion work for them. Only the most poor among us use antennas for free OTA broadcasts. Still, if they got the cheap TV I got, it's capable of receiving both analog and digital OTA signals with a simple click of the remote to switch receivers.

1815.4.2008 7:01

Quote:
Only the most poor among us use antennas for free OTA broadcasts.
Unfortunately, UbuntuGuy, I'm one of those poor -- at least for now.

I DO believe digital television, *in general* will become far more prevalent in the public's psyche, once LCD 16:9 digital tv's get smaller and cheaper. THOSE two things are critical.

Digital tv doesn't have to be high-def - that's just an option. On a smaller digital lcd tv, standard def would look just fine, and many - if not all of the smaller sets support 720p (the lower end of true hi-def).

Digital tv brings benefits to us antenna-receiving guys - clearer picture, wide aspect ratio, and (possibly) more free channels.

There's no way on earth my landlord would allow me to hang a 60" widescreen tv on one of my apartment walls, even IF it would fit. (Which it won't). Many of us would simply like to watch the local 6:00 pm news after supper.

Digital tv on smaller (and less-expensive) sets would *explode* the market. Huge, true 1080p sets could come later for those who wanted it (and could afford the price).

I would very much like to see digital programming (even if it were to come solely from the CBC for now) in my area (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada). I need an excuse to buy a good-but-smaller digital set.

1915.4.2008 11:41
UbuntuGuy
Inactive

A_Klingon,

I'd LOVE to get a 16:9 digital LCD "standard-def" set. I've not seen any, though. The so-called "enhanced definition" sets caught my eye when they came out ... but now they're pretty hard to find. Locally, all I see are 4:3 standard def sets (like my dual-tuner analog/digital set) and 16:9 high def sets ... with nothing in between. But, if the economy keeps going sour, more manufacturers might see a demand for the middle-ground ... and revive the EDTV concept.

Hmm ... my desktop monitor is 4:3 but my laptop monitor is 16:9. I wonder if there's a way to buy a TV tuner card for the laptop that would produce a 16:9 output.

2015.4.2008 18:20

Hello! :-)

Quote:
...I'd LOVE to get a 16:9 digital LCD "standard-def" set. I've not seen any, though.
Well, 'standard def' is 500+ lines of resolution I believe. (Just think 'Standard DVD' resolution). I'm not sure of the exact number of lines, but even standard-def digital beats the pants off standard analog (NTSC) resolution. Nonetheless, why not go for a very inexpensive lower-end HD set, at 720p lines?

720p is not at all hard to achieve in cheaper sets today, UbuntuGuy, in fact, I think it's (mostly) the norm. You'll never find 1080i or 1080p lines of resolution in these sets, because with the smaller screen sizes, 99.9% of the extra resolution would be unnoticeable.

I assume you live in the USA, so let's just take a quick gander at a relatively cheap-but-tasty 19" (measured-diagonally) digital LCD tv-set from Walmart USA:




That's the Polaroid 19" 720p model TLA-01911C for $277.54.

If you really DO want to forego the 720p resolution, then cheaper still is the 15" widescreen XGA-resolution (1024 x 768p) Magnavox 15" 15MF227B/27 digital tv set, for $228.00 :




Or in-between, you could get the 19" Emerson SLC195EM8 digital set @ 1440 x 900p resolution, for $249.54 :




All of these sets can receive digital broadcasts.

I was really surprised to read that you purchased an analog tv set which just happens-to-have an additional built-in ATSC (digital) tuner. This is the first I've ever heard of such a set!

Usually, it's the other-way-around - (the digital LCD sets also usually include a standard, analog NTSC tuner for compatibility purposes, and to tide one over until digital-exclusive broadcasting becomes the law).

Do you mind if I ask what Model you bought and what it cost? (You *may* have been able to get a true 16:9 LCD digital set for the same price).

I'd really like to get a set similar to the ones pictured above. If I lived in the USA, I would, because of your analog-cut-off-date of Feb-19/09. But here in my area, there are NO digital (free) OTA channels, and mandatory-digital OTA broadcasts are an excrutiatingly THREE YEARS away. SO, for me, there is really little incentive to 'go digital' yet.

-- A_K --
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Apr 2008 @ 18:57

2115.4.2008 18:32
UbuntuGuy
Inactive

A_Klingon,

Sure. I got it "in store" at Walmart ... but here it is online:

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=5633688

Interestingly though, I got it "cheaper" - $91 + change. It could be that, store-wise, they're trying to make room for LCD models. I haven't been in their TV department since I bought the set ... so I have no idea what it looks like now. FWIW, it's given me great service. The picture is exceptionally vivid and colors appear spot-on.

2215.4.2008 18:47

Originally posted by UbuntuGuy:
A_Klingon,

Sure. I got it "in store" at Walmart ... but here it is online:

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=5633688

Interestingly though, I got it "cheaper" - $91 + change. It could be that, store-wise, they're trying to make room for LCD models. I haven't been in their TV department since I bought the set ... so I have no idea what it looks like now. FWIW, it's given me great service. The picture is exceptionally vivid and colors appear spot-on.
WheW! !!!!!!!

That's *got* to be the BEST price I've ever seen for a tv set that can actually receive digital programming! It's only _slightly_ more expensive (without the gov'mint rebate chit) than the set-top converter boxes themselves.




But there's another reason I'd prefer to go 16:9 widescreen LCD:

The ability to play back widescreen DVDs without those crummy black bars above & below the screen. <gg> Some of those cheaper LCDs even include an HDMI input, and I DO intend to get a blu-ray player when the prices come down, and for now, I don't really care about 1080p resolution.

-- Mike --

2315.4.2008 18:55
UbuntuGuy
Inactive

Quote:
The ability to play back widescreen DVDs without those crummy black bars above & below the screen.

Well (grin), the lion's share of programming in my locale is 4:3. So, if I had a 16:9 set, I'd have crummy black bars on the right and left sides of the screen (grin) ... unless I wanted to use the zoom feature and crop off the top/bottom.

I suspect my next set will be a 16:9 LCD. But HD would have to come down substantially in price before I'd abandon digital SD.

2415.4.2008 19:04
UbuntuGuy
Inactive

Just one more comment. I've noticed that many of my local TV dealers are incredibly dense ... choosing to display their 16:9 sets at that ratio EVEN when the picture is 4:3. In short, a lot of the TVs look like you're watching a program in a carnival mirror (snicker) ... stretched out so everyone looks short and fat. About a month ago, I went to one local store to buy some blank CDs and noticed that all their HD sets were tuned to a 4:3 broadcast ... stretched to fit the 16:9 screens. I went up to the clerk and told him his aspect ratios needed to be changed to display the program properly ... and he replied (no kidding), "What do you mean by aspect ratio?"

I frowned for a second and replied, "Never mind," and walked out of the store.

2515.4.2008 19:07

Yep !!!

Interesting/fun times ahead !! :-D

2615.4.2008 19:12
UbuntuGuy
Inactive

A_Klingon,

It is comforting to run into people like that, though (grin). I used to consider myself a "newbie" when it came to stuff like this. But daily, the people I meet make me feel more like an expert, hehe.

P.S. Off topic ... but based on your handle, I assume you're a Trek fan. Have you ever checked out the "Star Trek Phase II" (formerly known as Star Trek New Voyages) episodes? I'm the guy who shepherds mirror sites for them. Episodes are both downloadable and streamable for free:

http://www.Phase2Trek.com

2715.4.2008 19:17

Quote:
Just one more comment.
(Yeah, me too). <gg>

Quote:
I've noticed that many of my local TV dealers are incredibly dense ...
Yes, many of them *are*. I don't know who's responsible for that, BUT when senior management chooses to display 4:3 content stretched to absurd dimensions on their store-wide 16:9 sets, it is a pathetic statement on current levels of dealer-education. Most of these dealers would do well to visit a site here like A/D, for instance.

I would _never_ normally buy anything from these types of stores unless they just happened-to-have the *exact* model I was looking for (and thoroughly researched on-line beforehand), at a better price than I could obtain elsewhere.

2815.4.2008 19:25

Highly, outrageously embarrassing confession:

I'm only using a dial-up modem internet connection. You know, the kind that Christopher Columbus used to use when he first came to America. <ggg>

(Streaming/downloading movies at modem-rates is an impossibility.)

But *thank you!* -- A_K --

2916.4.2008 5:09
UbuntuGuy
Inactive

A_Klingon,

Actually, the site includes modem-friendly RealVideo streams of every episode and vignette. Of course, the video footprint is a bit small ... but you can still watch them.

Just curious. Is the reason you don't have broadband money-related or rural-related? If rurality is the factor, you might be in luck. There's an ISP in my hometown (Portland, Oregon) that provides wireless broadband access in a rather unique way. You only have to be within range of a viable celltower in the US and Canada.

http://www.millenicom.com

After I retire, or maybe before, I'm considering dumping my Comcast service for them. And, FWIW, the speeds they mention are "roll-out" speeds. They're service (and concept) is still a new one ... and their speeds have nowhere to go but up (grin). Basically, all you have to do is buy their special wireless modem (which is portable).

3016.4.2008 7:59

Quote:
... Just curious. Is the reason you don't have broadband money-related or rural-related? ...
For now, unfortunately, the former rather than the latter.




Too many other priorities, you know - frivoulous stuff like, ... (oh lessee....), Rent, Beer, Power Bill, Food (what a nuisance), Beer, Transit To Work, Beer, Phone Bill, Clothes, and every once in a while, maybe some Beer.

Silly things like that. I suppose that's why I'm more interested in free digital OTA broadcasts rather than cable/satellite boxes, and looking at digital LCD sets with screens smaller than you usually see at your local IMAX movie theater. :-P

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