2008-12-03 / Columns

Feds offering help to buy converter boxes

Question: I heard that my television may stop working next year when stations switch from analog to digital. Do I have to buy a new TV?

Answer: You don't have to upgrade to a new television in order to continue getting broadcast signals. If you already have a digital television or cable, you have nothing to worry about. But if you're part of the 16 percent of Americans receiving television over the air, you'll need a conversion box by February 2009.

The federal government is offering help to people who need to buy the converter boxes. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is issuing $40 coupons toward the converter. Every household is entitled to two coupons. More than 100 retailers will accept the coupons toward the purchase of converter boxes.

About 21 million U.S. households get TV signals the oldfashioned way, according to the Government Accountability Office. Request your coupons by visiting www.dtv2009.gov or by calling 1-888-DTV-2009.

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