How many Americans watch TV over the air?

December 2nd, 2007

If the switch to digital TV in 2009 matters to anyone, it’s those folks who depend on an antenna (rather than a pay-TV service) for their viewing pleasure—especially the ones who still own traditional analog-only TV sets.

About 14 percent of U.S. households watch TV over the air exclusively. That’s 15.5 million households—according to the latest FCC report, anyway.

No one knows for sure, you see. Competing estimates:

• About 13.5 million antenna-TV households, says a Consumer Electronics Association survey.

• “Anywhere from 40 to 80 million households,” including TV sets in cable- or satellite-equipped homes that are not connected to the pay-TV service, according to figures cited by a Best Buy spokesman.

Digital TV facts for over-the-air viewers


  1. Mack Grempel says:

    Converter boxes will not help those owning small, truely portable, battery powerd off-air LCD TV sets that are specifically used used while participating in camping and other traveling and outdoor activities. Many thousands of households own these relatively new, analog sets that will instantly become obsolete and, from a practical perspective, become totally useless. This seems to be grossly unfair!!!!

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