The big “digital broadcasting switch” which we’ve mentioned before will be here in the U.S. sooner rather than later. It’s scheduled to take place no later than February 17, 2009 which means at this point, those who still use rabbit-ears or a roof-top antenna need to do something a bout it. Nielson Co. has estimated that around 13 percent of television households in the United States still rely on conventional TV broadcasting which is why the government has decided to help. If you fall under the “analog” TV category and don’t intend to upgrade to digital before the FCC’s given date, you’re eligible for a $40 coupon.
In all, the government has set aside $1.5 billion for the program. Part of it is to educate people on the change coming up because many don’t even know it’s going to happen, but part of it is also going to be used for the coupons. A total of $33.5 million has been set aside specifically for those who need to buy a converter box. The first 22 million coupons will go to people who make a request for one. They’re using the “honor system” (hard to believe, I know) – and so anybody can go request a coupon. If you have one digital TV and another TV in the house in which you use rabbit ears, you qualify for a coupon and can request one. The rest of the coupons will go to those who don’t subscribe to any type of cable/satellite/or other paid service.
To apply for a coupon to purchase a TV converter box, or learn more about the Digital TV transition, go here.