Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Exclusively Digital

Now that the countdown to a new year has passed, another countdown looms. If you have not bought a new television set lately and are enjoying your old analog set(s), be prepared to go digital by Feb. 19, 2009. That is the target date set by the U.S. Government to begin “digital only” broadcasting.

In order to help with the transition from analog to digital, the Federal Communications Commission has established a Web site, http://www.dtv.gov/. The site includes a FAQ (no, you do not have to buy a High Definition DTV) and a glossary to help you understand digital technology.

The best news, however, is that consumers will still be able to use their old analog televisions with the help of a converter box. The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is making available to every U.S. household two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used at the time of purchase for eligible digital-to-analog converter boxes that will sell for an estimated $50 to $70 each. More information about the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program is available from www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon or by calling 1-888-388-2009 (voice) or 1-877-530-2634 (TTY). Consumers may request the coupons starting January 1, 2008.

The National Association of Broadcasters has also established a Web site, DTV Answers, to ensure that consumers are informed and prepared for the federally mandated transition from analog to digital broadcasting on Feb. 19, 2009.