Washington, D.C. – With the end of analog TV broadcasting exactly a year away on Sunday, U.S. Commerce Dept. secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez declared the federal TV converter box coupon program is on track, and $40 coupons will be in the mail starting the week of Feb. 17, 2008.
As planned, the Commerce’s Dept.’s National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA), which oversees the program, is set to mail out $40 TV converter coupons to those that have applied for them, beginning Feb. 17, 2008.
Coupon recipients will have 90 days to redeem those coupons for digital-to-analog converter boxes at 9,700 registered retailers.
Consumers who have analog-only television sets that are not connected to cable, satellite or telco TV services, will need a converter box to continue receiving free TV broadcasts over the air after Feb. 17, 2009.
Other options for analog TV viewers after that date include purchasing a new digital TV set or adding a subscription TV service.
The coupons — up to two per household — can be used toward the purchase of an approved, eligible converter box from an NTIA-authorized retailer. Only one coupon can be used for each box. Converter boxes are expected to sell for between $40-$70.
“With the first coupons going out to households nationwide, the TV Converter Box Program is on track,” stated Gutierrez. “Retailers nationwide have said they will be ready with boxes, trained employees, and open for business to accept coupons. We are encouraged by the amount of coupons requested and the number of participating retailers as we mark one year until the transition.”
Since the program opened on January 1, NTIA has accepted more than 2.6 million household requests for nearly 5 million coupons. More than 9,700 retailer locations will be participating in the program at the outset, including locations in all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The NTIA said it has certified more than 615 retailers representing over 16,475 outlets nationwide to participate in the program.
Participating stores will have completed certification in the coupon program, will have converter boxes for sale, will have employees trained, and will be prepared to redeem coupons.
NTIA will provide consumers a list of eligible converters and nearby participating retailers, such as Best Buy, Circuit City, RadioShack, Wal-Mart and other local retailers, within the coupon mailer. Further details are available and www.DTV2009.gov.
“NTIA has been working very closely with manufacturers and retailers to make a positive customer experience,” stated Meredith Baker, NTIA Acting Assistant Secretary. “Consumers can expect to receive their coupons soon. They should do their research on the converter box model that’s best for them and purchase it before the coupon expires in 90 days.”