With the stimulus bill now signed into law, TV viewers should receive new coupons within weeks to help defray the cost of DTV converter boxes. This time the agency will put analog-only households at the head of the line for DTV-to-analog converter box coupons if demand for coupons threatens to slow down distribution. If no waiting list emerges, the NTIA said it could process all households that apply within about a week. The government agency administering the DTV converter box coupon program has reached the Congressional ceiling for coupon funding. The funds will help the almost 4 million requests that were placed on a waiting list for the coupons.
- The DTV coupon program is back on track
- Trading Exchange Emerges For Digital TV Coupons
- Apply for Coupon for DTV Converter Box - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports
- DTV Coupon Redemption Ends With Over $1 Billion Worth Unused
- IBM wins $ million contract to run DTV coupon program
- DTV Coupon Clippers
- Slashdot Top Deals
- DTV Coupon Box Program Concludes With Bang
- DTV coupon backlog will soon disappear
- DTV Coupons Are Here Again
The DTV coupon program is back on track
A coupon-eligible converter box CECB was a digital television adapter that met eligibility specifications for subsidy "coupons" from the United States government. The subsidy program was enacted to provide over-the-air television viewers with an affordable way to continue receiving free digital over-the-air television services after the nation s television service transitioned to digital transmission and analog transmissions ceased.
The specification was developed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration NTIA , with input from the broadcast and consumer electronics industries as well as public interest groups. In March , United States House Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton of Texas said he would introduce a bill requiring the transition to digital television "sometime in the spring", saying he wanted analog broadcasting to end on December 31, The subsidies were intended only for people who could not afford a pay service such as cable or satellite television.
Each home would receive a rebate coupon for one box, which could be mailed to the United States Treasury for redemption. Barton estimated that 8 to 10 million converters would be needed. This deadline later changed to June Recognizing that consumers might wish to continue receiving broadcast programming over-the-air using analog-only televisions, the Act authorized the NTIA to create a digital-to-analog converter box assistance program.
Consumer education plans for the subsidy program were targeted to low-income , elderly , disabled , inner city , immigrant, and rural Americans, because these groups were more likely to use an antenna instead of cable or satellite television. It directed the FCC to deposit the receipts from the spectrum auction of the returned analog television frequencies into the fund. The Act defines the term converter box to mean "a stand-alone device that does not contain features or functions except those necessary to enable a consumer to convert any channel broadcast in the digital television service into a format that the consumer can display on television receivers designed to receive and display signals only in the analog television service, but may also include a remote control device.
As of April , 20 million people some with more than one set received only over-the-air TV. When the number of people subscribing to cable or satellite who also had TVs that only used an antenna, an estimated 70 million TVs would need upgrading. In , the NTIA let people see its plan for distributing coupons and comment on it. The plan prohibited people with cable or satellite service from requesting coupons.
In order to get two coupons, consumers had to state that they had two television sets. In an effort to limit misconduct, coupon requests would be only be taken between January 1, and March 31, ; each coupon would be valid for three months. On March 12, , the NTIA held a news conference to announce the standards for the converter boxes and the requirements for receiving coupons. With the standards established, manufacturing could begin and the NTIA could select a company to send out coupons.
The Commerce Department had no plans to make coupons available only to the poor. Coupons could be requested by phone, mail, or online. The NTIA set the standards for the converter box based on what manufacturers and broadcasters wanted. LG Electronics , Thomson , Samsung , and Jasco were the first companies to announce plans to make the devices.
After June 1, , retailers could apply to sell converter boxes. Each would have to be in the NTIA s Central Contractor Registration database, and have been in the consumer-electronics business for at least a year. Those funds supported an initial "non-contingent" program that was available to all requesting households. In that case, a "contingent" fund would be available for US households not serviced by cable or satellite.
Neither allotment had a means test. The NTIA planned to start processing coupon requests a year before the original transition date of February 17, ; 2. By the end of , the New York Times said "about 40 million coupons have been requested, but to date 16 million have been redeemed, compared with an estimated 35 million televisions that will lose a signal. On January 4, , the NTIA began placing coupon requests on a waiting list after the program reached its maximum allowed funding. Only after unredeemed coupons expire could new requests be fulfilled.
A week later, the list had grown to two million coupons. The NTIA Specification is arranged in three categories, describing required, permitted, and disqualifying features. The box must output signals both as a radio frequency output compatible with a television s antenna input , as well as composite video and stereo audio outputs. It must include a remote control, and be compatible with universal remotes.
The units had to support both a 4: Various technical performance parameters for the digital tuner were also specified. They must decode the Program and System Information Protocol PSIP data from the digital transmission, and use it to provide the user with tuned channel and program information. CECBs must consume no more than an average of 2 watts of power when not in use no video or audio display. They must provide an automatic power-down option that can put the unit in standby mode when it has not received any commands for a while.
Manufacturers could self-certify compliance with these requirements, but had to provide test results and two units to the NTIA for ad hoc testing. Among the optional features permitted, but not required, were the following:. DTV converter boxes could earn a United States Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star label if they consume no more than eight watts of electricity while operating, no more than one watt while in standby mode , and if they automatically power-down after four hours of inactivity.
Some features disqualified a converter box from coupon eligibility, such as high-definition video output and built-in DVR functionality. Digital cable and satellite set-top boxes that incorporate a digital tuner were also disqualified. Certain output features were prohibited from coupon-eligible devices: Coupon-eligible converter boxes only tune to one channel at a time, as they only contain one digital tuner and no analog tuner.
In order to watch one channel while recording another, one must have two such converter boxes, unless the recording device has its own digital TV tuner. Most video recorders were also unable to change channels under control of built-in timers when using a converter, as channel selection was then handled by the converter. Then, the converter s tuner will change to the appropriate channel at the time the VCR needs to record.
This requires a separate box for the VCR, or the viewer will have to watch what is being recorded. Another, less common option is an " IR blaster ", which a recorder can use to control an external tuner, like a cable set-top box or converter box. However, older devices with IR blasters may not be fully compatible with digital subchannels ; the converter box may require the use of a [-] or [.
Some older TiVo brand digital recorders received software updates specifically to control digital converter boxes via the TiVo s included IR blaster. Small battery-operated portable televisions, while valuable in time of disaster , are generally poorly suited to digital conversion. While at least one CECB Winegard s RCDT09A is operable from an external battery pack,  the combination of television, converter, external antenna, and power supply limits portability.
The inability of some boxes to add new digital channels without a full re-scan—deleting all existing channel settings—renders them unusable to viewers who rely on directional antennas and rotors to receive distant stations. Signal strength meters, where available, are awkward, typically only displaying information for channels that have already been found.
Where the converter fails to receive a channel, an often-cumbersome manual process is usually provided; however, this requires knowledge of which frequencies each missing station is actually transmitting on, rather than the virtual channels each is mapped to by the ATSC protocol. Manufacturers responded by releasing a new generation of models with the feature. Some new DVD recorders and personal video recorders also provide both analog and digital tuners, and therefore could perform the basic functions of a set-top box in both modes.
In early May , the D. The association said it would continue to pressure the FCC to support analog functionality as a requirement of the All-Channel Receiver Act , urge more government funding for low power and Class A broadcasters to transition to digital, and ask Congress to increase the number of such stations eligible for funds. On August 13, , the CBA announced that it would cease operations.
One reason given was the cost required to fight "restrictive regulations that kept the Class A and LPTV industry from realizing its potential", including the campaign to require analog passthrough. Amy Brown, former CBA executive director, said "some 40 percent of Class A and LPTV station operators believe they will have to shut down in the next year if they are not helped through the digital transition.
The September deadline is to allow for possible new construction to accommodate digital equipment. As a result, the NTIA started placing requests for coupons on a waiting list, issuing coupons as previously-issued but unredeemed coupons reached their expiration date. In December , FCC commissioner McDowell urged "those who don t need the government subsidy not to wait on that process before purchasing a converter box for themselves or as a gift for someone else.
During the weeks it takes for the government to process coupon requests, you will lose precious time to hook up the box, check antenna connections, and start enjoying free digital broadcast TV right away. Nielsen Media Research estimated in August that 25 percent of affected viewers would opt for inexpensive converters instead of replacing existing televisions or switching to cable and satellite television subscriptions.
Many retailers had stocked converters based on coupon use and shortages of the converter boxes themselves remained possible. Legislators from the American southwest were among those supporting a delay in the digital cutover, citing safety concerns because as many as a quarter of households in television markets there had not prepared to receive digital signals by January A judge from Hildago County, Texas noted that Latino, low-income, elderly, and rural homes were at risk.
The NTIA was legally required to issue coupons on a first-come, first-served basis; viewers in markets where individual stations ended analog broadcasts by the original deadline did not receive priority handling of their DTV coupon requests. On March 24, , the NTIA announced that the four-million-person waiting-list backlog had been cleared, meaning those whose coupons had expired could reapply.
The NTIA estimated 17 million coupons had expired, while The analog shutdown for full-power TV stations was completed in mid, with several stations ending analog transmissions well before the June 12, deadline. Many transitioned on the original February 17 date. In most cases, at least one station in each media market continued analog broadcasts for up to 30 days afterward as an " analog nightlight "—prohibited from broadcasting regular programming, but allowed to transmit information on how to obtain and connect a converter box to receive digital programming and send Emergency Alert System broadcasts.
This allowed viewers who had not converted by the deadline to receive at least one channel that would explain the absence of the other analog channels. The half-hour public service announcement with English and Spanish segments seen on most such stations was produced by the National Association of Broadcasters. Nielsen said 2. By August 5, , consumers had used 33,, coupons. The NTIA said 4,, coupons had been requested but not redeemed.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Alexa Internet. Retrieved Retrieved August 12, United States Government Accountability Office. September 16, Retrieved June 26, Washington, DC: Technology Policy Institute. Archived from the original PDF on July 28, Television Week. USA Today.
Trading Exchange Emerges For Digital TV Coupons
A coupon-eligible converter box CECB was a digital television adapter that met eligibility specifications for subsidy "coupons" from the United States government. The subsidy program was enacted to provide over-the-air television viewers with an affordable way to continue receiving free digital over-the-air television services after the nation s television service transitioned to digital transmission and analog transmissions ceased. The specification was developed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration NTIA , with input from the broadcast and consumer electronics industries as well as public interest groups. In March , United States House Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton of Texas said he would introduce a bill requiring the transition to digital television "sometime in the spring", saying he wanted analog broadcasting to end on December 31, The subsidies were intended only for people who could not afford a pay service such as cable or satellite television. Each home would receive a rebate coupon for one box, which could be mailed to the United States Treasury for redemption.
Despite some valid concerns , it appears that consumers are getting the message about the February digital TV transition. According to fresh National Telecommunications and Information Administration NTIA data, more than 10 million requests for digital TV converter box coupons have poured in since the program was launched on Jan.
As the Feb. And there s a supply and demand issue there. Retrevo, a consumer electronics exchange, says there are still at least three million people without coupons. Those viewers could be left behind when broadcaster switch to digital transmission in two weeks. At the same time about 11 million coupons are not being used.
Apply for Coupon for DTV Converter Box - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports
Beginning on that date, each US household may request up to two of the coupons. IBM will administer the coupon program. It has three basic jobs: This "contingent money" can only be used to help those who use over-the-air broadcasts as their sole TV source. The National Association of Broadcasters, whose members have plenty to lose if the process is screwed up and consumers can t watch their soaps, is pleased that the coupon program is moving forward in a timely fashion.
DTV Coupon Redemption Ends With Over $1 Billion Worth Unused
The DTV coupon program will end on July 31, If you still need a converter box, see our new post and apply right away. As you probably know by now, TV as we know it will change next year as the airwaves go all-digital. Most stations now broadcast both analog and digital signals, but that will end February 17, , when a new law requires them to transmit only digitally. If you have an older non-digital TV that receives programming via rabbit ears or a rooftop antenna, you lll need to get a set-top converter box that can transform digital over-the-air broadcasts into analog signals that can be received by their TVs. But you have to request the coupons. We suggest you apply immediately, as they re being offered on a first-come, first-served basis until the funding runs out. Another reason to act now: Most stations are already broadcasting digitally, so you can use the converter box as soon as you get one to receive the extra programming and enhanced quality of digital transmissions.
IBM wins $ million contract to run DTV coupon program
The transition to digital broadcast television has been delayed until June, causing confusion because some broadcasters already switched as scheduled on February One company is helping consumers quickly adjust—proof that the private sector is doing a better job preparing the public for the switch than the federal government has. The Sunnyvale, California-based electronics product review site has a DTV page where one can either give a coupon to others or find one. The prospective giver or recipient enters an e-mail address and a ZIP code, and Retrevo then connects people living near each other so they can make an exchange. The transaction is gratis; no buying or selling allowed. Part of the problem with the government-sponsored program was that it gave the coupons to anyone who requested them, regardless of whether the coupons were needed.
DTV Coupon Clippers
Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system. Would there be a benefit to getting the converter box? Yes, you still need the DTV receiver. The whole "DTV-capable" antenna marketing is largely a sham, like ethernet cables that say they re "broadband ready". Thanks so much! Also matrices of convert boxes to compare. Then, you need to see what type of antenna to get. Good places to discuss about DTV are at: I am not an expert and still learning, but these places are useful.
Slashdot Top Deals
Converter box coupons are still available, but you must request them by midnight on July 31, The fastest way to apply is online at http: You may also call the toll free hotline at DTV For more information, visit http: Every household receiving free over-the-air television is entitled to two coupons. Request your replacement coupons now to ensure they arrive by the full analog shut-off on June 12, The coupons can take up to six weeks to arrive. The FCC recommends requesting your coupons no later than today to receive them in time for the digital transition.
It was February , and Wilhelm, head of consumer education, had just explained the digital TV coupon program to a group of consumer advocates that included Cuellar. TVs that use antennas must have a converter; otherwise, they ll go dark once the switch happens.
DTV Coupon Box Program Concludes With Bang
Meta Log in. January 7, DTV Coupons: The Consumer Catch Filed under: Electronics — Edgar aka MrConsumer 7: For the next year, you will hear repeated public service messages about analog television service being elminated on February 17, The problem: Will it go black a year from now? Easy answer: The solution: Some key facts are buried in the fine print or not well disclosed, including:. The coupons expire 90 days from their mailing to you, and expired coupons will not be replaced. The consumer has a dilemna.
DTV coupon backlog will soon disappear
The government has received nearly 1. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the agency in charge of the coupon program, opened it up for requests on Jan. Each household is eligible to receive two coupons, meaning as many as 2. So far, around 19 of the devices have been certified, with more getting the blessing all the time. Smart antennas will be able to self-orient to TV signals for maximum reception. The coupons will start mailing in mid-February, when retailers are expected to have them in stock. The federal government started taking applications for DTV converter coupons this week. The government expects to clear the nearly 4 million coupon requests within three weeks of receiving the economic stimulus bill funds.
DTV Coupons Are Here Again
Procrastinators rejoice. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced today that the backlog for digital television converter box coupon requests had been cleared and that the government now had sufficient financing to send out more. The government has also amended several of the original rules that determine how coupons would be distributed. Until now, coupons not redeemed within 90 days expired, and no replacements were issued. Those who held expired coupons and needed one were absurdly told to scrounge some up from their friends and relatives. That ridiculous rule has now changed: If requested, the NTIA will send a replacement coupon for each that has expired. Now, new coupons will be sent via first class, rather than bulk mail rates, and should arrive within nine days of requesting them. According to a spokesman with the agency, the no-replacement-after-expiration rule was not of its own doing, but rather an interpretation of the original bill passed by Congress, which stipulated that no more than two coupons should be sent to any one household. The recent act that changed the analog cutoff date from February to June changed the wording to read that no more than two coupons per household could be redeemed. I ordered a certificate this afternoon. The site, and my printed confirmation state that the certificate will be issued AprilVIDEO ON THEME: DTV Tip #5: Order Your Converter Box Coupon - PBS