Falling Into the 'Reception Gap’

4/19/2008 3:20 AM Eastern

An estimated 54% of broadcast-only households are in “challenging reception areas,” according to research by Centris, and could have problems with off-air television-signal reception after the digital transition next February.

Those 9.2 million U.S. households in “receptivity gaps” might not be able to receive broadcast signals, even with a decoder, due to the local terrain, the distance from broadcast towers or the sensitivity of the home’s antenna, the Los Angeles-based market-research firm said. Centris defined “challenging reception” as a home that can receive four or fewer broadcast stations because it uses a small or medium, omnidirectional rooftop antenna; or one that relies on an indoor antenna.

In the reception gaps, Centris estimates 24% of those 9.2 million homes will receive no channels; and 10% will receive only one channel.

To maintain over-the-air reception, those households may need to upgrade their rooftop antenna. That point should be part of the dialogue on the transition, Centris said.

A Fuzzy Picture

Top 5 TV markets deemed “challenging reception areas”:

New York


Boston (Manchester, N.H.)




Los Angeles


Washington D.C. (Hagerstown, Md.)

SOURCE: Centris