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DTV Awareness Week Part 5: The Converter Box

For the final posting of DTV Awareness Week, we’d like to focus on the digital-to-analog converter box, which many households will need in order to keep watching TV once the transition to an all-digital network is made on February 17, 2009.

If you DO need a converter box, the most important thing you need to know about is the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program, launched by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Starting January 1, 2008, all U.S. households will be eligible to request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of up to two, digital-to-analog converter boxes.

Requests for these coupons can be made online, so it is expected that libraries will play a big role in the program, by virtue of the public Internet access they provide all over the country.

Requests can also be made by calling 1-888-388-2009.

Once you have determined that you need a converter box and have your coupon in hand, the only thing left is to buy the box itself. While the converters are not in stores just yet, beginning in early 2008 they will appear in stores where you would also buy televisions and other consumer electronics products.

For more information on the converter box coupon program, please visit the NTIA’s website.

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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