This step by step instructional video talks about the digital TV transition, specifically the converter box coupon program.
Joel: Hi, I’m Joel Topcik from Broadcasting and Cable magazine, we’re talking about how you can prepare for the digital television transition. As we’ve learned, if you wanna continue to receive over the air broadcast on your older analog only TVs, you’ll need a digital to analog converter box. Did you know that the federal government has a coupon program to help you purchase this converter boxes at a discount. In this final segment, you’ll learn all about that coupon program from Meredith Attwell Baker of the US department of commerce. Male: When can I apply for my digital converter box coupons? Meredith: Well, you can apply now, and we’re gonna be accepting applications for coupons up until March 31st, 2009. Male: How do I request a coupon? Meredith: You can apply, request these coupons through our website at www.dtv2009.cov, or by phone at 1-888-DTV-2009, or, we’re also accepting them by mail or by fax, you can just call us and we’ll send you an application. Male: Where else are coupon applications available? Meredith: They’re also available in libraries and we’re working with communities to get them in other places so that it’ll be easy for the consumer to get the application. Certain retailers also have them available. Male: When will I receive my coupon? Meredith: Generally speaking, about three weeks after you apply. Male: How many coupons can I request? Meredith: Every United States household is eligible for up to two coupons worth 40 dollars each towards the price of the converter box and the converter boxes are gonna cost between 40 dollars and 70 dollars. Now, we have 22.25 million coupons to give out to every household in America, and if we run through all of those coupons, then those households who receive over the air only broadcast are gonna be eligible for an additional 11.25 million coupons. Male: What information of I need to provide the government to request my coupons? Meredith: You’re gonna need to give us your name, and your address, and whether you want one or two coupons and you’re also gonna need to tell whether you receive your television over the air. Male: Can I use my coupons to purchase any TV converter box? Meredith: You can use your coupons to purchase coupon eligible boxes. When we send you your coupon, you’re gonna get a list of eligible converter boxes that is gonna be included with your coupon, and they’ll also be labeled in the stores when you go to purchase them. The congress gave us certain specifications to create a very simplified converter box that’s gonna be eligible for this program, but we wanted to make sure that they work. So we’ve tested them, and we’ve make sure that they work, and we’ve certified up to, well, right now about 50 boxes that you can use you coupon towards. Some of them are different than others, some have permitted features such a smart antenna or an enhance programming guide, energy star certification, and some have a permitted feature called low power pass through, so if you watch low power stations or translators or quasi stations, then you’ll need to get that permitted feature in the certified box. Male: How long are coupons active? Meredith: Coupons are active for 90 days. So when you receive your coupon, you have a chance to do some consumer comparison of the boxes to figure out which one you want or if you decide to make a transition in some other way, such as buying a digital television or subscribing to cable or satellite or some other pay television service. Male: Can I replace a lost or stolen coupon? Meredith: No, at this point, you cannot replace a lost or stolen coupon. So when you receive it in the mail, you need to guard it and use it within 90 days, coz it’s gonna expire after 90 days. Male: Where can I redeem a coupon? Meredith: There are 9700 retail outlets where you can redeem your coupons, and they’re in places where you would expect, like Best Buy, Radio Shack, Walmart, and Circuit City, as well as some online retailers. Male: Are the coupons transferable to others? Meredith: Yes, these coupons are transferable. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for consumers to make the transition for their love ones, the ones they care about. Now, we’re gonna be watching out for ways fraud and abuse, so, obviously you can't order a bunch, and remember that each household can only order two coupons, so, if you order two coupons and you used one coupon for your friend, then you cannot order any additional coupons. Joel: Well, there you have it. We hope this video has answered your questions about the digital TV transition. And help to prepare you for this important moment in television history. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to consult the sources presented in this video. For up to the minute news and analysis in the DTV transition, and the business of television, please visit www.broadcastingcable.com, and for how to videos on almost any imaginable topic, be sure to visit monkeysee.com. I’d like to thank Jonathan Collegio, Rob Stuttard, Jason Oxmen, John Taylor, and Meredith Attwell Baker for their participation in this video, and in behalf of everyone at Broadcasting and Cable, thank you for watching.