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The Top Cities With TVs At Risk of Going Dark

Kim Hart

Consumers Union used data from Nielsen Company to get a better idea of the markets that will be most affected by the digital transition coming in a little less than a year.

Here are the top five cities with the most homes that rely exclusively on over-the-air broadcasts:

1. Salt Lake City--23 percent of the households rely on over-the-air broadcasts.
2. Houston--22.8 percent
3. Dallas/Fort Worth--22 percent
4. Fresno, CA----21.5 percent
5. Minneapolis/St. Paul--21 percent

So why is there so much confusion about this transition? Joel Kelsey of Consumers Union said today that the people who will be most affected by the switch to digital TV--minorities, and low-income viewers--still don't understand how to prepare for the transition, even though many of them may know it's coming. The biggest concern is reaching speakers of foreign-languages, who rely on foreign-language stations that may suddenly disappear from their TVs.

He called on the federal government to "designate a quarterback to cut through the noise for consumers." He added: "This transition was mandated by the federal government and they have a true responsibility to help consumers."

The National Telecommunications and Information Adminstration--the federal agency within the Commerce Department--is handling the distribution of $40 coupons for the converter boxes that consumers without digital TV sets or cable or satellite service will need in order to upgrade their signals. So far, about five million coupons have been requested, the agency said.

By Kim Hart  |  February 21, 2008; 4:10 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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