WASHINGTON, D.C. – One month from today, our nation is scheduled to make the transition to digital television, or DTV, which will modernize our airwaves and free spectrum for public safety and innovative commercial use. On June 12th, full-power television stations across the country will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to digital signals. This will not affect consumers with cable or satellite TV or those who have a converter box for their older analog TV sets. However, consumers using antennas to watch free over-the-air television are at risk of losing their reception after the transition.
John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation successfully fought to extend the DTV transition deadline from February 17th, 2009 to June 12th, 2009, giving the new administration time to make sure Americans are not left in the dark.
“With the transition only a month away, we are encouraging people who watch television using an antenna to adequately prepare for June 12th. I am especially concerned about protecting our most vulnerable citizens,” Rockefeller said. “I applaud the Administration’s efforts to make sure that every consumer is aware of the steps they need to take to guarantee continued reception, get the assistance they need to prepare for the transition in their home, and continue to receive the important news and public safety information that television provides.”
Key Facts on the DTV Transition
- By law, full-power television stations nationwide are required to transition to digital broadcasting on June 12, 2009.
- Consumers who use antennas to watch free over-the-air television using an analog TV set and don’t subscribe to a pay TV service such as cable or satellite risk losing their reception after the transition, unless they take steps necessary to receive a digital signal.
- One of the easiest and cheapest ways for consumers to get ready for the switch is to buy a DTV converter box that connects to their TV set.
- A DTV converter box is an electronic device that hooks up to your analog TV. The box converts the digital television signal into a format that analog televisions can display.
- Consumers do not have to purchase a new TV set for the DTV transition. This is especially important for people on a fixed income to understand. The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is offering households up to two $40 coupons to help defray the cost of converter boxes.
- Consumers can apply online at www.dtv2009.gov, by phone at 1-888-DTV-2009, or by mail at PO Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208.
- Coupons are mailed via the U.S. Postal Service and consumers must redeem them within 90 days.
- A converter box costs between $40 and $70 and can be purchased at thousands of local and national retailers. Consumers can also order boxes online or by telephone. A list of retailers is available at: https://www.dtv2009.gov/VendorSearch.aspx