More on DTV Converters and Coupons

In the last few weeks I have received several emails and phone calls regarding the DTV Converters and the Federal Government’s DTV Converter Coupon Program.  There seems to continue to be lots of misinformation and confusion.  I will try shed some light on some of the most often asked questions.

 

Many have written complaining that they have yet to receive the coupons even though they requested them right after the first of the year.  While the program officially began in January 2008, the government stated that they would not begin to send the coupons out until the converters were available in stores.  Since the coupons have a 90 day expiration period and you may not request new ones for expired coupons, they wanted to make sure that once you had the coupons you could use them.  The coupons are being mailed out in order of when the requests were received.   I have a few friends who applied in early January and they received their coupons last week.  If you have a computer, you can check on the status of your coupon by going to www.dtv2009.gov/CheckStatus.aspx

 

Some people have related that their applications for coupons have been rejected.  In most cases it is because they did not provide a street address.  You can not give a PO box number on your application since the coupons are being allocated based on two coupons per each street address.  If you live in an apartment and provide an apartment number you will be fine.   Some people who are in nursing homes or other assisted living situations are not eligible for coupons.  You can apply for coupons even if you do not need them and give them to someone who does need one but is not eligible under the street address rubric.

 

Finding the converters should not be too much of a problem as they are stocked by most big box retailers.  I did have to chuckle the other day when I found the stock of converters at Best Buy® relegated to the bottom shelf of a dimly lit far corner of the store.  I guess they could have covered them up with a tarp. “Sure sir, we have converters.  How about I show you a $2000 DTV set first?”

 

There are a few things that you might want to consider if you are waiting to get the converters.  It is VERY unlikely that the prices will fall and the features will most likely not improve since most of the converters are essentially the same and the price is already so low that the retailer is not making the mark up they regularly get on other electronics.  Since the local stations are already providing these digital channels, you can begin using the converters right away thus getting some of the new channels and programs.  Also, picture quality will improve for many who have interference-prone reception.  For the most part, the picture quality will be even across all stations and your old analog set will never look better.

 

As we get closer to the February 2009 analog cut off date I am sure there will continue to be questions and concerns.   will try to address them here so that your transition is a smooth one.  Come Wednesday morning, February 18, 2009 we want the only snow to be on the ground, not on your TV screen.

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