Frequently Asked Questions
Converter Coupon Program
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1. How do I know whether I need a converter?
If you use “rabbit ears” or a rooftop antenna for TV reception, you probably need a converter. Television sets connected to cable, satellite or other pay TV service do not require converters. Televisions with digital tuners also do not need converters. Take a short quiz at the DTV Transition Web site to see whether the converter box is the right option for your household to make the digital transition.
2. Can I request my coupons for the converter program today?
No. The converter coupon program will be up and running on January 1, 2008. At that time, the government will begin taking requests for coupons.
3. Can I pre-order my coupons before January 1, 2008, by providing my address to the government?
No. By law, requests for coupons cannot be taken before January 1, 2008.
4. How can I request my coupons?
Requests will be taken beginning January 1, 2008, and going through March 31, 2009, by calling 1-888-388-2009. Check back to this website during that period of time to find out convenient ways to request your coupons, including calling a toll-free number.
5. How do I know whether I'm eligible for a coupon?
All households in the United States and its territories are eligible for coupons on a first-come-first-served basis.
6. How many coupons can I request?
Each household can request a maximum of 2 coupons.
7. What is the value of a coupon?
Each coupon is worth $40. Only one coupon can be used per converter.
8. What information do I need to provide the government to request my coupons?
The government only requires information necessary to mail coupons: name, household address and number of coupons needed (maximum of 2). Applications will be made available beginning in 2008.
9. Will my coupons expire?
Yes. Coupons will expire 90 days after they are issued.
10. Will I still need an antenna to receive my programming?
Yes. If you currently use an antenna to receive your over-the-air programming, you will still need it after you install a converter.
11. Where can I buy a converter?
Coupon-eligible converters are currently not in stores. Beginning in early 2008, they will appear in stores where you would also buy televisions and other consumer electronics products.
12. Can I buy a converter online?
It is expected that online retailers will participate in the Coupon Program. Again, check back to this website in early 2008 to see a list of participating retailers.
13. Can I use my coupon(s) to purchase any converter?
No. The government will provide a list of eligible converters and participating retailers on its website. Consumers can also ask participating retailers what converters in their stores can be purchased with a government coupon.
14. Can I use my coupon to purchase other consumer electronics products, such as DVD recorders or televisions?
No. Coupons will be electronically coded to be redeemable only for purchase of eligible converters.
15. Can I use my coupon to get $40 off a converter I've already purchased?
No. Coupons must be presented at the point of sale and must be redeemed at the time converters are purchased.
16. Will I need to buy a new television after February 17, 2009?
No. Your existing television sets will continue to work after the digital transition if they are connected to converters. You do not need to discard your analog sets.
17. Will I receive Closed Captioning through a converter?
Yes. Manufacturers of converters are required to pass through Closed Captioning to display on your television.
18. Will I receive High-Definition TV with the aid of a converter?
No. Analog televisions are not capable of displaying high-definition resolution, but the picture will generally be better with a converter. If you want to view high-definition TV, then you will need one of the newer sets rated for "high-definition" resolution.
19. How do I know whether my facility is eligible for coupons? For example, are prisons or group homes eligible to receive coupons?
Applicants must meet the Census definition of a household as consisting of "all persons who currently occupy a house, apartment, mobile home, group of rooms, or single room that is occupied as separate living quarters and has a separate U.S. postal address."
20. Why is the transition from analog to digital television happening?
Because digital broadcasting is more efficient than the current "analog" technology, less of the airwaves are needed to provide programming to consumers. The unused spectrum which broadcasters no longer require will be used for two important purposes. First, it will be given to first responders - our nation's firefighters and police - to better communicate with each other during emergencies. Second, this spectrum will be auctioned off to provide innovative wireless broadband services to consumers.
If there is a question we haven't answered, please email us. We will make every effort to update this document regularly to be responsive to your question.
For additional information about the digital television transition, visit the following Web sites to become familiar with your options for making a smooth digital transition:
www.dtvtransition.org - a one-stop clearinghouse of consumer information and tools to manage the digital transition, hosted by the DTV Transition Coalition.
www.dtv.gov - this is a government site offering comprehensive resources, including a consumer guide on what to look out for as the digital transition approaches.
www.myceknowhow.com - the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) offers this information to help consumers understand various available equipment options.
www.ceretailers.org - representing consumer electronics retailers, CERC (Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition) offers a Q & A about the transition as well as a consumer advisory alerting consumers to the cutoff date.
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