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Coupons to Ease Transition to Digital TV

13 Mar, 2007 By: Stephanie Prange

Consumers with analog sets will be offered coupons to obtain converter boxes to watch over-the-air TV after Feb. 17, 2009, the date Congress has ordered all TV stations to stop analog broadcasts, according to the Commerce Department.

Beginning in 2008, consumers with analog TVs will be able to get two coupons worth $40 each towards the purchase of converter boxes under a $1.5 billion program administered by the Commerce Department.

The move to digital television is designed to upgrade broadcast quality and free up spectrum for wireless broadband services and other communications.

“The transition from analog to digital television is a historic change and brings with it considerable benefits for the American consumer,” said Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez. “The coupon program is designed to help ease the transition to digital TV. Not only will the transition help expand consumer choices, but more importantly, the digital transition will enable more efficient use of the nation's airwaves, providing new advanced wireless services and increased public safety services for all Americans.”

Eligible households will be able to request coupons through a Web site, over the phone or by mail between Jan. 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009. The coupons will be electronically trackable and uniquely numbered so that each transaction will be verified at the retailer's point of sale terminal through the Commerce Department's coupon distribution database.

The Commerce Department will identify certified eligible converter boxes and add the product information to the electronic systems database to tie into retailers' point of sale terminals.

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