By Annie Barrett
Updated February 17, 2009 at 07:32 PM EST

The latest dispatch from The Great Shift To Digital 2009: While many TV stations will take advantage of a grace period passed by Congress to wait until as late as June 12, a patchwork of 641 stations across the country — mainly in thinly populated areas — are turning off their analog broadcasts this week or have already done so. According to the Nielsen Company, 5.1 percent of all homes were not ready for the analog shutdown by today, Feb. 17. Robert Prather, president of an Atlanta-based company that owns 36 stations, believes waiting any longer to make the switch is useless. “The ones who aren’t going to be ready aren’t going to be ready in June anymore than they are now,” he said.