TV Converter Box Coupon Program Countdown

In three months (Feb. 17, 2009), the nation's full-power TV stations will make the switch to 100 percent digital broadcasting.

Consumers who rely on over-the-air television and opt to buy a converter box to keep their analog TV working should apply for their coupons, buy a converter box and try the box with their analog TV. NOW is the time to urge your constituents to apply for their converter box coupons. This three step process may take at least six weeks so consumers need to act by year's end, or they risk losing their TV service.

The coupon program's popularity continues to grow among consumers, with more than 34.5 million coupons requested and over 14 million redeemed. As we enter the holiday season, make sure family, friends and neighbors are prepared to transition to digital. Help them apply for a coupon, find a converter box and follow the instructions for installation. Supplies are limited, and expired coupons cannot be reissued or replaced.

New "Apply. Buy. Try." Coupon Program materials are now available in English and Spanish and can be accessed by visiting: www.DTV2009.gov.

Nursing Home Residents - Residents in licensed nursing homes, assisted living and intermediate care facilities are now eligible to request one coupon from the TV Converter Box Coupon Program. A special application is available online for nursing home residents to print out, complete and mail in. To download an application, visit https://www.DTV2009.gov/docs/NursingHomeCouponApplication_en.pdf.

Post Office Boxes - Households that use a post office box for mail delivery are now eligible to request up to two converter box coupons through the standard application process. To apply, consumers must provide their physical address in addition to their post office box number.

Hawaii Transition - Full-power television stations in Hawai'i will transition to digital broadcasting at noon on January 15, 2009. Viewers in Hawai'i County, Maui County and City and County of Honolulu who rely on analog, over-the-air broadcasts will be affected by the early transition.

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On Nov. 10, the 100-days until the digital transition countdown began with an event at the Newseum in Washington, DC. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez took part in the event that also included the FCC, National Association of Broadcasters, Consumer Electronics Association, AARP, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and more.

This past quarter, many of NTIA's partner organizations, including the NAACP, educated their constituents about the coupon program and assisted them in taking action. Organizations in more than a dozen cities hosted Complete It. Connect It. Coupon Program Sign-Up Events, where consumers could learn about the transition, watch a converter box demo and apply for their coupons on the spot.

In September, more than 20 Federal government partners took part in a meeting at the White House to discuss best practices and next steps to increase awareness about the Coupon Program as the transition date nears.

In October, LA 18, southern California's #1 Asian-language TV station, hosted a DTV Transition Seminar at the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles. Nearly 100 community-based organizations attended the train-the-trainer event and received Asian-language Coupon Program materials to distribute in the coming months. Also, the Hinds County Board of Supervisors in Jackson, MS, hosted a Coupon Program event in conjunction with the start of Medicare open enrollment, and about 800 people attended the event

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