No more converter box coupons

January 6, 2009 5:37:32 AM PST
Anyone hoping to get a coupon for a television digital converter box before next month's switchover to digital TV is out of luck.The government said Tuesday that its $1.34 billion converter box coupon program has run out of money. Anyone who applies now will be put on a waiting list. About 7 million consumers applied for the coupons in December. That was more than double the number for October.

The nation switches over to digital on February 17. That means more than 70 million televisions that currently use an antenna to get over-the-air signals from television stations will stop working unless they have a converter box that changes the digital signal into analog. Anyone who gets their TV signal from cable or satellite won't have to buy the converter boxes.

Click here for more digital conversion information

Thousands have applied for the converter box coupon which expire in 90 days and never used them. Lawmakers say they're working on a plan to allow the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration to re-issue those expired coupons - potentially freeing up millions of dollars.

In the meantime, anyone who wants a converter box will have to pay for it out of their own pocket.


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