Tuesday, January 06, 2009

DTV Converter Program Officially Out Of Cash

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that the $1.3 billion in funding it had received from Congress for the TV Converter Box Coupon Program has been used up. Starting last Sunday, U.S. residents applying for a digital TV converter box voucher were put on a waiting list, the agency said.

Because of the high demand for coupons, the program reached its $1.34 billion ceiling, which consists of ordered and redeemed coupons.

“Households need to consider all of their options and act now to be prepared for the February 17 transition to digital television,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Meredith Attwell Baker. “We are working with Congress, the incoming Administration and other stakeholders to ensure everyone is prepared for the transition and no one is left in the dark.”

When consumers contact the Coupon Program to request coupons, they will receive a message they have been placed on a waiting list and will receive coupons on a first-come, first-served basis, as coupons become available and funds are returned to the U.S. Treasury from expired coupons. Consumers will receive a reference number that they should write down and use to check the status of their order at the Coupon Program’s Web site, www.DTV2009.gov.

According to the NTIA press release more than 24 million households have requested more than 46 million coupons and more than 18 million coupons have been redeemed. The NTIA also stated that only 52.5 percent of the requested coupons have been redeemed and more than 13 million coupons have expired. The DTV coupons expire within 90 days from the date it is mailed.

Customers of cable or satellite TV service will not be affected because they already have digital converter boxes as part of their service. Those households are still eligible for the DTV coupon program, however the converter boxes only work for over the air transmissions. So unless you are planning on dropping your cable service, or if you are just looking for aback-up in case your cable goes out there is no need to apply.

For more details on the DTV program please checkout our previous posts:

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