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2.8 million not ready for DTV transition

As the June 12 deadline for the digital-TV switch approaches, the number of homes not ready represents 2.5 percent of the market, according to a report by Nielsen.

Are you ready to go digital? Almost 3 million American homes may not be...yet.

Friday is the deadline for the country's move from analog to digital TV. At that point, most analog signals will be shut off. But 2.8 million homes still lack the necessary equipment to receive digital transmissions, says a report released Wednesday by Nielsen.

The number of homes not ready for DTV represents 2.5 percent of the TV market. The report notes that younger, African American, and Hispanic households are disproportionately unready, while the elderly are the most ready.

Geographically, the greatest number of unprepared homes are in the Western U.S., where cable isn't as prevalent as in other parts of the country, says Nielsen. The highest number of ready viewers are in the Eastern U.S.

The digital switchover was originally set for February. But with too many people still unprepared, the government delayed the move. Without a digital TV, cable or satellite connection, or a converter box, viewers won't be able to tune into their favorite shows.

Nielsen is optimistic, though, noting that the delay from February to June gave more people time to get ready. And those still not prepared are expected to catch up.

"Since February, when the U.S. government postponed the transition for three months, the number of households that are completely unready has been cut in half - from 5.8 million to 2.8 million homes," said Sara Erichson, president of media client services at Nielsen. "Given the importance that television plays in the day-to-day life of most people, we expect that the most of the remaining unready homes will take the necessary steps to get ready once the stations make the final switch to digital transmission. We will continue to follow this trend closely."

From the government's end, the Federal Communications Commission expects some bumps in the road, but is optimistic.