I wanted to pass along an article from TVPrediction. com, that talks about the coming availability of federally-issued "coupons" which will help folks obtain digital-to-analog "set top" boxes. These devices will be required for those people who rely on free, over-the-air TV signals to continue receiving those free, over-the-air signals from WTAP when we switch to an digital-only environment in Feb. 2009. Their only other choice is to go out and buy a new digital TV with a built-in digital tuner.
These coupons, and the devices they will help people to obtain, will allow those folks who rely on our over-the-air signals to continue to do so AND not have to replace their current TV sets.
If you know of someone who can only receive WTAP over-the-air, please share this information with them. They can call Roger Sheppard at 485-4588 if they have any addtional questions, or they can go to www./wtap.com and click on the Digital Transition tab at the top of our home page to learn more about this coming change-over.
Feb. 2009 is only about a year away and we don't want anyone to miss out on important news or weather information after the FCC tells us to turn off our UHF channel 15 transmitter and broadcast only on our newer digital unit.
This will NOT affect cable TV customers.
Reprinted with permission from TVPredictions.com
Feds to Issue Digital TV Coupons In February (2008)
Consumers can start applying for them next month.
However, consumers can start applying for the coupons on January 1, the National Telecommunications & Information Administration announced yesterday.
The converter boxes, which are expected to cost $60-70, will allow old analog TVs to display digital signals when the nation switches to Digital TV on February 17, 2009.
On that date, all local broadcasters must switch their analog signals to digital which means viewers will need a Digital TV, a digital converter box or a pay TV subscription to watch television.
The NTIA, the federal agency overseeing the transition, said the February 17, 2008 date was chosen for issuing the coupons because that's when retailers will have the converters in stock.
In a press conference yesterday to announce the coupon details, the NTIA also said 14,000 stores (100 retailers) are "certified" to carry the converter boxes, including
In related news, the Government Accountability Office issued a report this week saying the Digital TV transition needs more coordination at the federal level.
Lawmakers have also expressed concern that many Americans are still unaware of the transition and could lose their TV signals because they will not prepare for the switch. They have called for more educational efforts from both the federal government and the private sector.