Switchover to take place in less than two years

TOKYO — With less than two years to go before the skedded switchover to digital TV, 69.5% Japanese households owned digital terrestrial TVs as of September, according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

This is slightly behind the 72% diffusion target the ministry set in 2003, while representing a rise of 8.8 percentage points since the previous survey in March.

According to ministry figures, 4.4 million households made the switch to digital in the April-September period. In the same time frame, shipment of digital terrestrial TVs totaled 9.19 million units, a gain of 35.4% compared with the same period last year. More than half the purchases were for second sets or higher.

About 80% of the respondents who haven’t yet gone digital said there is still plenty of time to buy before analog goes off the air on July 24, 2011, while 40% said they were too strapped economically to take the plunge.

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