Global Sources
EE Times-Asia
Stay in touch with EE Times Asia
EE Times-Asia > RF/Microwave

DTV signal gaps to affect 9M U.S. households

Posted: 15 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DTV? signal reception? digital TV transition?

A new proprietary study by media market research firm Centris reveals that 9.2 million U.S. households could experience receptivity problems with DTV signal coverage in the Feb. 17, 2009 DTV transition.

According to Centris, there are more than 17 million households currently receiving only over-the-air (OTA) analog signals in the United States, of which 54 percent are located in challenging reception areas. The study provides the first in-depth look on a national level at the scale of the issue, and identifies the top 10 cities in the country that have the most consumers at-risk. The discovery of potential receptivity "gaps" in DTV signal coverage was revealed in an earlier Centris study released in February and generated national dialogue on the issue.

David Klein, executive VP of Centris, said, "We have completed an analysis of the entire country to identify where in each market the receptivity gaps exist and now have exact figures for the number of at-risk households down to individual census block groups. The statistics suggest that digital TV signal coverage will be significantly more limited than currently anticipated and further reinforce the need for industry and consumer education on this issue."

Increased risk in receptivity in regional markets depends on the local terrain, distance from towers and the sensitivity of the consumer's existing home antenna. "Challenging reception" in this context refers to consumers that receive only four or fewer broadcast TV stations if they only have a small or medium omnidirectional rooftop antenna or if they have an indoor antenna. In addressing the range of reception problems, Centris forecasts that 24 percent of consumers in difficult reception areas, who only have an indoor antenna or a small or medium omnidirectional antenna, will receive no channels, and a further 10 percent will receive only 1 channel.

The findings mean that consumers who wish to remain OTA and continue to receive "free TV" may have to consider upgrading existing indoor or rooftop TV antennas to a more sensitive model in order to receive a satisfactory number of broadcast stations. Some over-the-air consumers who wish to buy a digital-analog converter box for use with their analog TVs may also have to consider an antenna upgrade. Similarly, consumers who are replacing an analog TV with a new DTV may also have to contemplate obtaining a more sensitive antenna.

According to Barry Goodstadt, senior VP of Centris, "It should be noted that these estimates are conservative as the model used in the Centris study assumes that all consumers have rooftop antennas. In fact, the Centris survey reveals that 75 percent or more of over-the-air households have only set-top antennas or 'rabbit ears' as they are commonly known."

The company indiciates that this new study further highlights the need to increase dialogue on the national, regional, local and neighborhood level with regard to the issue of digital TV receptivity and the need for consumers to consider their transition options and potential antenna upgrades. Digital receptivity challenges remain a local issue that need to be addressed on a local level among all segments of the television industry including broadcasters, multichannel providers, advertisers, associations, equipment manufacturers and retailers.

Klein adds, "To ensure a smooth transition and avoid the potential pitfalls of the digital TV transition, key players in the industry need to be armed with this information in order to make strategic business decisions and properly educate consumers."

- Dennis Barker
Digital TV Designline

Article Comments - DTV signal gaps to affect 9M U.S. ho...
*? You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

Back to Top