• From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 15:59:39 -0400

Good to see this sort of discussion and interest at long last.



April 10, 2008

New study reveals impact of U.S. DTV signal gaps

Over 9 million viewers to be affected

By Dennis P. Barker

New proprietary research released today by Centris, the leading media
market research firm, reveals that 9.2 million U.S. households could
experience receptivity problems with digital TV signal coverage in the
upcoming DTV transition on February 17, 2009. According to Centris,
there are more than 17 million households currently receiving only
over-the-air (OTA) analog signals in the U.S., of which 54% 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 ten cities in the country that have the most consumers at-risk. The
discovery of potential receptivity "gaps" in digital TV signal coverage
was revealed in an earlier Centris study released in February and
generated national dialogue on the issue.

According to David Klein, Executive Vice President of Centris, "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% 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% 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
roof-top 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 digital TV may also have to
contemplate obtaining a more sensitive antenna.

The study also identifies the top ten most at-risk TV markets in the
U.S., which account for 2 million of the over-the-air households in
challenging reception areas, as follows:

AT-RISK U.S. TV MARKETS (Ranked highest"lowest by No. of at-risk OTA

New York
Boston (Manchester)
Los Angeles
Washington, DC (Hagerstown)
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
Minneapolis-St. Paul
Cleveland-Akron (Canton)

According to Barry Goodstadt, Senior Vice President of Centris, "It
should be noted that these estimates are conservative as the model used
in the Centris study assumes that all consumers have roof-top antennas.
In fact, the Centris survey reveals that 75% 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."

Centris is a leading market research and information company with
expertise in media, entertainment, communications and technology, based
in Fort Washington, PA. Serving as both a research resource and an
analytical engine, Centris is the only firm that continuously tracks
household information on broad entertainment, communications and
information products and services. For more information, visit

All material on this site Copyright 2006 CMP Media LLC. All rights
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