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Secretary Locke Reminds Consumers to Apply for TV Converter Box Coupons Before July 31st Deadline

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, July 24, 2009

CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

202-482-4883

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Reminds Consumers to Apply for TV Converter Box Coupons Before July 31st Deadline

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke today reminds Americans who are still not digital television-ready that they have one more week to request converter box coupons before the July 31st deadline.

"If you have lost your television programming since the switch to digital, help is still available," Secretary Locke said. “Consumers who used to rely on over-the-air television have until July 31, just one week from today, to apply for a $40 converter box coupon so they can once again receive the news and emergency information they need."

The Department of Commerce's TV Converter Box Coupon Program provides up to two $40 coupons per eligible household toward the purchase of converter boxes to help consumers who rely on free over-the-air broadcasting with the digital transition.

Consumers have three options to receive digital television: subscribe to cable, satellite or another pay service; buy a television with a digital tuner; or purchase a TV converter box with or without a government coupon. When connected to an older analog TV and antenna, a TV converter box allows the television to receive over-the-air digital television signals.

Coupons must be redeemed at the time of purchase, and consumers are encouraged to call ahead to confirm availability of coupon-eligible converter boxes on the day they plan to shop. Consumers may re-apply for coupons only if their previously issued coupons expired without being redeemed. Coupons expire 90 days after they are mailed and have the expiration date printed on them.

Even though the transition is complete, the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has continued to provide consumer assistance by:

  • Providing a dedicated TV Converter Box Coupon Program website www.dtv2009.gov and toll-free number – 1-888-DTV-2009 – with both English- and Spanish-speaking operators
  • Running targeted radio ads
  • Making coupon request and redemption data available to retailers to help them manage converter box inventory

The efforts significantly cut unpreparedness numbers.

Full-power television stations in the United States shut down their analog broadcast systems by June 12, 2009, and now have completely digital broadcasts. The transition to digital television frees up airwaves for better communications among emergency first responders and offers a clearer picture and more programming choices for many consumers.

For more information about the switch to digital broadcasting, visit www.dtv2009.gov. To request converter box coupons, call 1-888-DTV-2009. Consumers who continue to experience reception problems can call the Federal Communications Commission hotline at 1-888-CALL-FCC.