Nearly 25 million homes have at least one television set that will stop functioning in nine months, when the nation converts to digital over-the-air television.
Ten million of those homes are considered "completely unready" for the conversion, according to a report scheduled to be released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. Among the findings, Hispanic and African-American households stand to lose a disproportionately high share of access, and extra televisions in kitchens and bedrooms will be more likely to go dark, potentially cutting into the number of people viewing early morning and late-night television.
The survey is one of the first in-depth assessments of the nation's readiness for the digital TV transition. In preparation for the change, the government and the broadcast industry are running a $1 billion consumer education campaign, including commercials that have started to become almost intrusive to people who watch television regularly.
"Most households are ready today, but there are a real percentage of homes that are not," said Sara Erichson, an executive vice president at Nielsen, which found that about three-quarters of households are prepared.