A little more than three hours and counting until full-power analog TV broadcasts in the US go away, and the DTV becomes the law of the land.
According to the latest Nielsen Company research survey report of 7 June, 2.8 million American households (or 2.5% of the total) are still not ready for today's transition. Even so, articles like this one in the LA Times are predicting that the transition should be a big yawn.
As a matter of interest, I did a bit of digging about for the predictions of how many HDTV's would be sold by the transition. When the Digital TV Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 was being debated by the US Congress, HDTV sales were predicted to jump to a market value of $65 billion by 2009. More interesting, almost half (47%) of US TV households surveyed supposedly were planning to buy an HDTV in 2006.
However, according to Nielsen again, only one out of three TV households currently own a HDTV set. I don't have the latest estimated 2009 HDTV market value (does anyone else have it?) but I doubt it has reached $65 billion.
The next big issue for the US DTV transition will be for those receiving their TV from the cable companies, who over the next few years will be forcing their customers to obtain new cable boxes if they want to use non-digital TV sets or even digital TV sets. That should prove to be increasingly interesting as those with cable have been repeatedly told that they had nothing to worry about in regard to the DTV transition.
That was the truth, but unfortunately, not the whole truth.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.