Mandatory digital TV coming soon

May 30, 2008 8:57:27 PM PDT
In just nine months on February 17th, you may not be able to watch television without a converter box. It sounds like a long way off but you may want to act now. So, who needs a converter box and how do you get one?

New TVs manufactured after March 2007 already have digital tuners and won't need a converter box. "You just need to purchase a converter box if you are using an older television set that has an analog signal," says Jeremy Clay from Best Buy.

If you're still not sure, check with your manufacturer or your manual to make sure your TV has a digital tuner. The same applies for DVRs and VCRs.

You can apply for up to two $40 off coupons from the federal government to help defray the cost. To get one just call 1-888-DTV-2009 or go to dtv2009.gov. Most converter boxes will cost you $50 to $70. An editor at CNET.com predicts that price will soon go down.

"We think by summer, this may be a $40 product. So, with the $40 coupon, you're just paying sales tax and a little bit of gas to go to the store," says Brian Colley of CNET.

So far, 13 million coupons have been mailed out. There's a chance that money will run out and not everyone who wants a coupon will be able to get one.

The National Association of Broadcasters is calling for the $890 million program to be expanded.

"They want to ensure the key people out there, especially the seniors, Hispanics and African Americans affected by this are going to get these coupons, use them to their fullest ability," says Angie Malone National Association of Broadcasters.

There are 80 different models of converter boxes for sale, but CNET says most of the features they offer are pretty basic.

"So really, to me, the big features are: get a remote that you like, get a design you don't mind looking at because it's going to be stuck somewhere in your home entertainment stack, and get a price that's really good," says Colley.

**LINKS**
Dtvanswers.com
To get a coupon, go to https://www.dtv2009.gov/
http://www.cnet.com/dtv-transition


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