If you watch any TV you probably know by now that on February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. This is being done to free up the airwave for emergency responders. You can get a $40 coupon for free from the government. Here is a link to the site. At my house we just installed one today and it worked great. You get more channels (around 20 instead of 7) and the picture is very clear. No more playing with the bunny ears everytime you change stations. This is a good reason to drop you cable and save $50+ per month. To learn more about the program I am going to post some of the FAQ from the Governments site.
What is the digital television transition?
At midnight on February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. Digital broadcasting promises to provide a clearer picture and more programming options and will free up airwaves for use by emergency responders.
Will the transition affect me?
You will need to take action before February 17, 2009 if you currently watch TV on an analog TV set that is not connected to cable, satellite or other pay TV service. If you own a television with a digital tuner or subscribe to a pay TV service, you will likely continue to receive TV programming as usual after the transition.
How do I know if I have analog or digital TV?
What you need to know is whether your TV set has something called a “digital tuner” already built in. If it does, your TV set will work after February 17, 2009. The best way to determine whether your TV set has a digital tuner built in is to consult your owner’s manual. If that’s not possible, you may be able to look up information about your TV set on the manufacturer’s website. Or, you can take an up-close look at your TV set. In any case, you’re trying to find out if your set has an input connection labeled “digital input” or “ATSC” (for Advanced Television Systems Committee, which is the DTV format).
How many coupons can I request?
Each household can request a maximum of two coupons. Each coupon may be applied towards the purchase of a single converter box. The coupons can be ordered one at a time or both at the same time.
How do I request a Coupon?
Between January 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, you can request a coupon while supplies last in one of four ways:
- Apply online
- Call the Coupon Program 24-hour hotline 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009).
- Mail a coupon application to: PO BOX 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000. Download a Coupon Application here.
- Fax a coupon application to 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632)
- Deaf or hard of hearing callers may dial 1-877-530-2634 (English/TTY) or 1-866-495-1161 (Spanish/TTY). TTY Service is available from 9 AM – 9 PM Eastern Time Monday through Friday.