Digital TV Conversion

Less than a year from now all TV broadcasts in the US will switch to digital; if you have an older TV, and don’t have cable or satellite, you’ll need to get a digitial converter or on switchover day you’ll get nothing but snow. But the government is funding its mandate, and is providing $40 coupons toward the purchase of a digital converter box to assist in the transition. I received mine yesterday. It came with a list of stores that sell them, including Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Wal-Mart. Radio Shack and Best Buy are both selling it for $59; Wal-Mart has it for $49. I stopped in both Radio Shack and Wal-Mart, and was the first person at both stores. Radio Shack assured me that all stores were selling it for the same price. I smiled and said I’d check Wal-Mart just the same–and saved $10.

Update: And now that it’s connected … WOW! What a difference! The snow on some channels is gone completely. And some stations have multiple broadcasts that we can now see. I didn’t think I needed cable before–I definitely don’t need to be wasting that money now.

Update: WARNING! They may run out! See this article, which says the government is only issuing 3.3 million coupons, and 1.78 million applications had been received already as of early February.

7 thoughts on “Digital TV Conversion

  1. Glad to know someone already got the converter and set it up & connected. I cancelled cable not too long ago – sorry they just charge too much, and with the digitial conversion I felt the gov’t was a bit in cahoots with cable companies but I digress. I was concerned about whether the converter would work. What would reception be like, etc. I still think it is a racket that government decided to make the switch and those of us that have good working tv’s that are not the new digital ready or HD models have to suffer and go out and spend $$$. The coupon is a good idea but there should be a basic $ 40 model so the converter box if free because the only other option is to go back to cable or get satellite which means either way you have to spend money. And with the price of gas lets not forget that the drive to the stores is costing too.

    Ok getting off the soap box now.

  2. You go to the government webpage, , and fill that out.

    They’ll send you a $40 coupon if you have one TV, or two coupons if you have two (no more).

    When you get that, you take it to the store and that will knock $40 off the price. So, if you go to Wal-Mart, it will end up costing you $10.

  3. You prompted me to sign up for the coupon, Bill! I was planning on getting around to it, but your comments regarding a clearer picture prompted me into action. Thanks!

  4. Eileen, the reason the government is pushing everyone to get the converters is so they can reallocate the bandwidth currently used by analog TV broadcasts to other uses (cell phones, etc). Right now the TV stations are all broadcasting both analog and digital signals–which means not only a waste in bandwidth, but a waste of equipment and power, as they have to maintain 2 sets of transmitters.

    Bill’s right on the quality. We have an old TV in the bedroom and a (digital) HDTV in the living room, and the digital TV gets more channels in better quality, at the same price per month (free). For those of us who prefer not to spend $50 to $100 a month on cable, a one-time $10 purchase is a steal.

  5. Bill, how long did you have to wait for the coupon to arrive after you did the online app? I applied the other night… should I be expectantly checking my mailbox anytime soon?

  6. It took 6-8 weeks for me–I signed up the first day, and they didn’t start mailing them out until the end of February (when they would have the boxes in the stores). The webpage says they’re sending them out in batches, in the order the requests come in. So I can’t say how long it will take for you to get yours. Just remember to be patient … you have to take the coupon/card with you–you can’t get reimbursed after buying one.

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