Thursday, January 10, 2008

DTV Converter Box Coupons, Now Available

In an effort to ensure that no television viewer loses service on 2/17/2009 Congress dedicated money for a converter box subsidy. As you may recall, analog sets can continue to serve viewers after the 2/17/2009 analog shutoff if connected to a DTV converter box. That box will receive the DTV signals and convert them to an analog form to be displayed on an analog television set.

Through the U.S. Commerce Department's NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Association) consumers who need a DTV converter box can apply for up to two $40 coupons that can used towards the purchase of up to 2 DTV Converter boxes...(one coupon per box, coupons are valid for 90 days.)

The boxes are expected to cost between $50-70 and will be available from most electronic retailers sometime in February.

Coupons can be applied for now...and in a sense they are on a first come first serve basis, so if you plan to continue to use your analog television after February 2009 apply soon.

To apply:

call 1-888-DTV2009
or
http://www.dtv2009.gov/

9 comments:

tm said...

People outside the Grade A signal areas (in Grade B areas) will need more than just a convertor. They will need a large antenna. Also in many cases people in grade B signal areas just will not be able to watch DTV at all.

Jim Corbin said...

An outdoor antenna always is the best choice, but rabbit ears may work just fine. The best part of a DTV signal is there is no snow or ghosting...you either get a perfect picture or none at all.

The FCC assigned DTV service area was suppose to replicate the analog Grade-B service area, so viewers should expect reception to be similar to what they experienced with analog. WWNY is also reverting back to the frequency of channel 7 post 2009 and has applied for a service contour that better replicates the analog contour than what we currently are offering (on channel 35).

Finally, while the DTV signal is expected to cover less of an area than an analog one, in real world testing we have found it to be very good.

CresceNet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Francisco said...

Consumer Reports and HearUsNow.org have a great information site on Digital TV.

And they set up a way to share your experience with the transition to digital television.

Click here for more information on the digital transition

lectrichead said...

Have you heard of anyone getting their coupons as yet?

I signed up midnight January 1st (12:01 actually) and haven't received one as yet.

BTW, great idea for this blog. I hope WWNY's is linking to this blog for others to share.

Marc

Jim Corbin said...

My understanding of the coupon system is that they will not mail coupons unless a majority of the retailers in the area have boxes in stock. They are screening this because of the 90 day expiration date on the coupons.

lectrichead said...

Thank you for the info, Mr. Corbin. That makes sense.

tsemmes said...

You can use your coupons on the web to purchase the converter boxes. CompuPartsAndMore.com will ship free at $21.99 + coupon. I have found very few sites including e-bay sites that accept the govt coupon.

CarlB said...

Kingston-Watertown is in an awkward position as it is a small market with an incomplete set of networks on both sides. That has forced the use of "Grade B" or adjacent-market signals to fill the gaps for as long as there has been TV. On low-VHF analogue, odds are that a big-enough antenna and a rotor could be used to pick up something, even if it was snowy and barely-watchable. In DTV, however, it's all or nothing.

The converters are not readily available in Canada (I've only ever seen one Canadian retailer - an eBay'er just north of Toronto - offer one coverter model for sale) and there are no coupons. The closest digital signal on the Canadian side is at Camp Fortune, Qu├ębec and that is CBC/Radio-Canada only.

One other key point to watch: if Kingston-Watertown are 40 miles apart, directional antennas work best, but tuner boxes on which all existing channels are wiped out when scanning for new stations are not antenna rotor-friendly. Sadly, quite a few manufacturers still fail to grasp this idea.