While many in the United States know that the transition to
digital TV broadcasts will begin in early 2009, there are still some that are
oblivious to the transition. The Nielsen Company says it estimates that the
transition will affect 13 million households across the country.
To offset the cost of the digital transition for consumers,
the U.S. government is offering coupons to help reduce the cost
of the convertors for affected households. Without these digital convertor
boxes, homes without TVs capable of receiving digital broadcasts that aren’t
connected to satellite or cable services will no longer be able to receive
Consumers will be eligible for up to two $40 coupons which
can be used towards the purchase price of a converter box. Wal-Mart says
that it expects many customers using these coupons to show up in its
stores across the country.
Gary Severson, senior vice president of Home Entertainment
for Wal-Mart said in a statement, “Due to our many locations, we expect the
majority of customers will come to us for making their digital transition plan,
both for convenience and price. We've prepared for many months to ensure the
coupon process will go smoothly, and will work with suppliers to continue to
have available, affordable options in our stores for all customers."
To make the buying process easier Wal-Mart says it set up a
new platform at its registers to make using the $40 coupons as easy as using a
gift card. The catch with the $40 coupons provided by the government is that
the converters at this point all cost more than $40.
Wal-Mart now has one of the cheapest converters around with
a Magnavox Digital-to-Analog converter at a price of $49.87. That leaves
consumers paying about $10 out of their own pocket to continue to watch over
the air programming with old analog only TVs.
Some may find the digital transition happening before the February 17, 2009
deadline in their area. The FCC changed the rules to allow broadcasters to
make the digital transition early if it was required for the station to make
quote: Am I correct to assume that this TV will need one of these converters?
quote: The converters are just for over-the-air signals, it is at the sole discretion of the cable/sat provider to go all digital or not.
quote: The cable companies will eventually go all digital too, so yes he will eventually need a box.
quote: Will cable customers with analog TVs have to buy or rent a set-top box from their cable company? If so, how much will it cost? First, it's important to know that the February 17, 2009 deadline for the digital television transition only applies to full-power broadcast stations. Cable companies are not required by the government to transition their systems to digital, and can continue to deliver channels to their customers in analog. Cable companies are actually required by FCC rules to continue offering local broadcast stations to their customers in analog as long as they offer any analog service. This requirement will continue for at least three years after February 17, 2009. The Commission will decide in 2011 whether the requirement should be continued beyond February 17, 2012. This means that customers who receive analog cable service (without a cable set-top box) will be able to continue to do so.However, for business reasons (among other things, digital is much more efficient than analog), cable companies may be interested in transitioning their systems from analog delivery to digital delivery. If a cable company makes the business decision to go all-digital (meaning it will stop offering any channels to its customers in analog), it must ensure that its analog customers can continue to watch their local broadcast stations. This may require customers with analog televisions to get a set-top box. If the cable company provides the customer with a set-top box, any costs related to it will be determined by the cable company. Therefore, it is recommended that analog cable customers contact their cable company to ask if a set-top box will be needed, when it will be needed, and if there will be a cost.It is also important to note that a cable set-top box is different from a digital-to-analog converter box. A digital-to-analog converter box is necessary only for analog televisions that receive their programming over-the-air using a rooftop antenna or "rabbit ears" connected to the set. A digital-to-analog converter box is not necessary for a TV connected to a paid television service such as a cable or satellite TV provider. Information on any set-top boxes needed for a paid service such as cable or satellite should be obtained from the service provider.
quote: allowing folks to continue to use their older TV's
quote: Jumped to wrong conclusion!
quote: According to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) plan introduced this week, all U.S. consumers will be eligible for up to an $80 subsidy to pay for analog-to-digital TV converters.
quote: The switchover will primarily affect the minority of U.S. TV viewers that rely on TV antennas and over-the-air (OTA) signals for their broadcast programming. According to the Federal Communications Commission, up to 90 percent of U.S. households currently get their TV signal via a satellite or cable provider. People who receive programming in this way are not likely to notice when broadcasters power down their analog transmitters for good in 2009.
quote: How do consumers pay billions for airwaves that will no longer be used?
quote: And those billions that the government "makes" then go back to the American people through other things anyway. Be it schools, roads, defense, etc.