Almost 25 million US homes own at least one set that will go dark when broadcast TV switches to digital next year—which could wreak havoc on ratings, the New York Times reports. Roughly 17% of network prime-time viewers are using unprepared TVs, according to Nielsen. Secondary TVs, like those in bedrooms or kitchens, were especially vulnerable, which could hurt late-night and morning programming.
All this is despite a $1 billion consumer-education campaign that has made warning advertisements near ubiquitous. “Most households are ready today, but there are a real percentage of homes that are not,” said one Nielsen executive. Especially unready were Hispanics, African-Americans and young people. Of course, many households may simply be deciding between buying new sets and getting converters.