National Telecommunications and Information Administration
• Asst. Secretary
• Domestic Policy
• Telecom Research
Media & Press
Press Release: Participation By "Over-the-Air" Households in TV Converter Box Coupon Program On Track as Nation Marks Six Months Until DTV Transition Concludes
WASHINGTON - The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today that nearly 6.4 million “over-the-air” TV households, those that rely on an antenna for broadcast TV, have requested about 12 million coupons from the TV Converter Box Coupon Program. The program helps households switch to digital television when full-power TV broadcasters switch from analog to 100 percent digital broadcasts in six months.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 60 percent of “over-the-air” TV households are potential purchasers of converter boxes. Nielsen estimated that there were 14 million over-the-air TV households, at the beginning of the year. Nearly 75 percent of these potential purchasers of converter boxes have requested coupons.
“I’m pleased to report that NTIA’s efforts are on track with helping the most vulnerable households - those that rely exclusively on over-the-air broadcasts,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Meredith Baker. “However, the conclusion to the digital television transition is only six months away, so I encourage all households that may need a converter box to apply for coupons now, and use them to buy a converter within 90 days.”
Household participation is 50 percent or higher in 187 of the country’s 210 television markets for their participation in the Coupon Program. (See listing of all markets and the participation rates of over-the-air households.) NTIA is sharing this data with its partners and creating special outreach where participation rates are lower than expected.
“Nationwide, with more than 23 million coupons requested
and more than 8.2 million redeemed, millions of households
are now experiencing the benefits of digital TV because of
the Coupon Program,” said Baker. “We will continue
to educate consumers about the Coupon Program and will focus
our efforts on those markets and target populations that need
the most support.”
Consumers may apply for the coupon online at www.DTV2009.gov, by phone at 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009), via fax at 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632) or by mail to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000. Deaf or hard of hearing callers may dial 1-877-530-2634 (English TTY) or 1-866-495-1161 (Spanish TTY). Consumers will receive a list of eligible converters and participating retailers with their coupons. Coupons expire 90 days after they are mailed, and only one coupon can be used to purchase each coupon-eligible converter box.
The transition offers consumers a clearer picture, more programming choices and will free up the airwaves for better communications among emergency first responders and new telecommunications services.
Viewers of over-the-air programs need to look at each analog television set in their home that is not connected to cable, satellite, or other pay television service and make a timely decision:
• They may connect it to cable, satellite, or pay television
Some viewers watch programs over translators or other low-power stations which may continue broadcasting analog signals after February 17, 2009. Those viewers may wish to select a converter box that will pass through analog signals.
NTIA is responsible for the development of the domestic and
international telecommunications policy of the Executive Branch.
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