The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has launched the Digital-to-Analog Converter Box Coupon Program (FAQ).
Starting January 1, 2008, all U.S. households can request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of up to two, digital-to-analog converter boxes. Two coupons will be sent to each person who applies. The government will start to mail out coupons on February 17, 2008.
Each one is worth $40 off a digital converter box. The devices, which are expected to cost around $60 each, will transform an antenna signal to a digital one that will work with the new standards. Manufacturers are already busy creating new boxes for the coupon program.
The $60 Zenith DTT900 will have composite audio/video outputs, plus V-Chip parental control and user-customizable digital closed captioning. Philips will show three models at CES, priced between $59 and $69. “The DTV Transition coalition is working to make sure consumers understand their options,” says LG’s Taylor, who also chairs the coalition.
Stores are expected to begin selling the boxes in February. All major big box retailers including Best Buy, Circuit City, Target and Wal-Mart will sell the converter boxes.
The FCC also announced changes to the DTV transition on New Year’s Eve. Under the new rules, broadcasters would be allowed to phase out or end their analog signals before the Feb. 17, 2009, deadline.