I ordered my DTV converter box coupons as soon as I heard the government was handing them out (and yes, I still own a couple of analog sets). How you could miss the announcements for vouchers last year is beyond me – just about every local station had a scrolling ticker WARNING people that they wouldn’t be able to view anything unless they had a converter box come January.
Some of you responded to this question on Twitter:
As of February 17th, 2009, you will have to have a DTV Converter if you have a television that has rabbit ears on it. However, if you head over to DTV Transition, you’ll be able to get a lot more information.
the era of analog broadcast television in the United States will end as the nation’s full power* television stations complete their transition to an all-digital system. While this change will mark the end of the traditional analog method of broadcasting over-the-air television, it won’t signal the end of free broadcast television, and your favorite broadcast programs and local television stations will still be available.
If you currently receive analog television over the air or via an antenna, you’ll need to take action to continue watching your favorite stations. TVs accessing “pay” television service such as cable or satellite aren’t likely to be affected by the switch.
The good news is that if you head over to the DTV Transition website and fill out a form, you’ll receive a coupon for a DTV Converter absolutely free. You may as well not spend your money if you don’t have to, right? I personally ordered two of them, and ended up paying about $20 each. I then used the coupon to send to my parents, so they’ll be able to get one, as well. Details for the program:
A digital-to-analog converter box receives digital over-the-air signals from your antenna, converts them to analog and sends the signal to your existing analog television set. These boxes, which are expected to cost between $50 – 70 will be available for purchase in 2008. Beginning on January 1, 2008, U.S. households can request up to two coupons valued at $40 each. Each coupon can go toward the purchase of a single set-top converter box that will allow you to continue watching FREE over-the-air television on an analog set.
If you have an older television that still works, you should definitely get yourself equipped with the Converter before you need it. Thanks to this coupon program, you won’t have to spend much money… if any at all.
Households using analog televisions will not be able to receive digital broadcasts after February 17, 2009, unless the analog television is connected to a box that converts the digital signal to an analog format, or the analog television is connected to cable or satellite service. While converters may be important to connect some TVs, other viewers may not need or want converters, such as those who have digital televisions or pay TV service.
DTV is a more flexible and efficient technology than the current analog system. The switch to digital broadcasting will enable television stations to offer dramatically clearer pictures, better sound quality and more programming choices. Under legislation passed by Congress – the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 – over-the-air broadcast television stations are required to turn off their analog channels on February 17, 2009, and continue broadcasting exclusively in the digital format.
On February 28th 2007 the Digital Television Transition Coalition began fulfilling its mission to inform consumers of the February 17, 2009 switch from analog to digital television broadcasting. The coalition is comprised of business, trade and industry groups as well as grass roots and membership organizations that share an interest in a smooth transition. The core mission of the Digital Television Transition Coalition is to ensure no consumer is left without broadcast television due to a lack of information about the transition.
Guess I’m glad I’ve already made the HDTV leap. The only tube we have in this place is the one sitting in our exercise room, and the only reason it’s there is because it has a built-in VHS player (VCR, for those of you who can’t remember what VHS tapes needed for playback). I can’t even remember the last time I… hey, do y’all remember tape rewinders?