Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Headlines: Digital Television Conversion Boxes
If you own an analog television and do not subscribe to a cable or satellite service, you will be effected by the upcoming conversion to digital service slated for 2009. Broadcasting companies will be switching to a digital only signal, making those rabbit ears obsolete for anyone who utilizes free television service. In order to avoid losing your signal, you will need a conversion box. Conversion boxes go on sale on February 16th for between $50 and $70.
If you are one of the millions of Americans that will be effected, there is hope out there! To order a $40 government converter coupon call (888)-DTV-2009 or visit the website at http://www.dtv2009.gov to order your coupon online. Each household is permitted to request up to two coupons to help defray the cost of the conversion boxes.
The government funded coupons are going fast. The 1.5 billion dollar program is a first come first serve basis and two million people have already sent in their requests. Regardless of whether you subscribe to a paid television service or not, you are still eligible for the program.
The demographic most effected by the switch will be senior citizens who are more likely to watch free television and who depend on it more as a source of entertainment then other age groups, watching an average of 5.5 hours a day. The coupon program will allow seniors, as well as others, to purchase the converters for little or no personal cost.
The reason behind the change is so that valuable airwaves can be utilized by agencies such as police or fire departments. The conversion to digital will also make for clearer picture and sound quality as well as allow broadband services to offer better Internet service. The flip side, however, is that the public is paying for the conversion directly by switching to paid service or purchasing a box, or indirectly by providing tax dollars that fund the government coupon program. This comes as an insult when television networks rope in huge returns on programming but have not been required to put forth any money for the conversion.