Redeem Your DTV Coupon Now -- Or Be Sorry Later

Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 15, 2008

It appears that the Digital TV (DTV) transition is hitting some rocks. As you’ll recall, TVs with rabbit ears will stop working come February, when most TV stations stop transmitting in analog. To fix the problem, millions of households have to buy special converter boxes for their old TVs, or to splurge on new TVs or, say, cable TV service. The boxes are the cheapest way to go, since the federal government has funded a program providing consumers with coupons, which allow Americans to buy converter boxes at a discount.

Well, it looks like that program is running out of juice. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) administering the coupon program has asked Congress for extra funds. Some 26.6 million coupons have been issued so far, though not all of them have been redeemed. Chances are, a substantial percentage of folks needing converter boxes still haven’t gotten one. Congress is looking into the matter, with several high-powered Congressional leaders having asked the NTIA today to explain why money is running out.

Whether Congress will approve more funding or not is unclear. So now might be a good time to redeem that coupon if you’ve got one, or to request one here if you haven’t…

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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