Do You Have Your TV Converter Box Yet?
I'm sure everyone is aware that this year is the last year to get an analog signal on your television. As part of a process to improve media, any TVs still using rabbit ears will need to get with the program; and you'll need to get a converter box. By signing up for the Coupon Program, you can get credit towards the purchase of an eligible converter box and avoid much of the cost of the required upgrade to digital. Here's how it works, and what you can expect from the program. (See also: 8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained)
I signed up for the Coupon Program a few months ago via the official link at www.DTV2009.gov (Note that this is the only approved link at this time.) After that, I forgot all about the conversion. Today, however, I received my official "coupons" with directions for redemption. Here's what my envelope contained:
- Two "coupons" towards the purchase of an eligible converter box. Each household can sign up for a maximum of two boxes. I would recommend you ask for both if you think you will need them. The coupons were actually cards that looked like debit cards, and they cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.
- A list of stores where you can use your coupons. While many big-box stores like Best Buy, Radioshack, and Walmart are accepting them at most location, there was a computer-generated list of stores close to me that will also take them. This is nice, as it included some mom-and-pop shops near me that I would have never considered.
- Updates and FAQ's. In case you aren't sure what to do with coupon, there is a short explanation of the program included in both English and Spanish. There is also a list of eligible converter boxes by make and model number, and some very interesting FAQ's concerning the coupons. The long and short of it states that the coupons expire within 90 days after they are mailed. They also are only good for one converter box per coupon. (So if you use your $40 credit towards a $30 box, you don't get any cash back.) Additionally, they are good for one use per card. The cards are ready to go, and don't need to be activated.
Any other questions? Direct them to the www.DTV2009.gov website. They can give additional information not included in the brochure, as well as give you instructions concerning low-power stations. Not signed up yet? What are you waiting for? The website will tell you if you need a converter and how to get one before the transition date of February 17, 2009.