Minneapolis — Best Buy will begin stocking and selling digital converter boxes chain-wide on Feb. 17, one year in advance of the analog shut-off.
The coupon-eligible boxes will be sold under Best Buy’s private-label Insignia brand and will retail for $60.
The chain is also preparing consumers for next year’s analog to digital broadcast transition with a dedicated hotline, enhanced employee training, and in-store and online information.
“The DTV transition is an event that is unprecedented in this country, and it will require a coordinated effort by broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers and the government,” said Mike Vitelli, Best Buy’s electronics senior VP. “We take our role as a trusted source of information very seriously. We are committed to do whatever we can to help customers find a solution that meets their specific needs.”
To that end, the company is launching a dedicated bilingual hotline — (877) BBY-DTV9 — that will connect consumers with a trained home theater specialist who can answer questions about the DTV transition and outline their options. By the second quarter customers will also be able to order converter boxes and redeem their DTV coupons through the hotline if they are unable to reach a Best Buy store.
Store employees have already received training on the transition and available options, and those most likely to assist with inquiries have participated in an additional series of in-depth training sessions since June 2007. Education efforts will continue throughout 2008 and up to the transition date of Feb. 17, 2009, Best Buy said.
The chain began preparing consumers for the transition in early 2006 with in-store and online information including brochures and a dedicated Web page at www.bestbuy.com/dtv. In October 2007, Best Buy became the first major CE retailer to exit the analog business by pulling all video products with analog tuners from store shelves.
Best Buy’s Insignia-branded analog-to-digital converter box measures 8.5 inches by 6 inches and meets all Energy Star guidelines. It is eligible for purchase with the $40 National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) coupon.