With the DTV transition just over a year away, a lot of talk here at CES is focused on the impact of that change. Analog broadcasting ends on February 17, 2009. Estimates are 13-20 million US households rely entirely on over-the-air broadcast (OTA households). 60-70 million analog TVs exist alongside televisions that are either digital or attached to a set-top box.
In an effort to ensure those analog TVs will work after the transition, the government created a coupon program that will allow consumers to purchase low-cost converter boxes that will convert the digital signal to analog for older TVs.
33.5 million coupons will be made available and each is good for $40 towards the purchase of a coupon-eligible converter box. These converter boxes are expected to cost between $40 and $70. Two-thirds are available to every household. One-third will be reserved solely for OTA households. Each household may request up to two coupons.
The application process to request a coupon began last week with coupon distribution beginning February 17. So far the response has been strong with 1.1 million requests for 2 million coupons having been received so far.
Last day to request is 3/31/09 (that date is correct and assumes some people will wake up next February with TVs that don’t receive a signal. Coupons can be requested through March of next year and will be accepted through July 9, 2009.
For more information about the digital transition, you can visit www.dtvtransition.org.