Alright slowpokes, you have less than a week to finally request your digital TV converter box coupons. The Department of Commerce plans to hand out the last $40 coupons on July 31. You don’t need a converter box if you pay for TV or have a newer set, but if you’ve been wondering where your stories have been since June 12, request a coupon while they’re still available.
The Senate has voted to delay the DTV transition to June 12, 2009, and the House is expected to vote on the issue late Tuesday or Wednesday. [AP]
Hawaii last week became the first state to transition to digital television, leading hundreds of confused locals to call into the FCC’s help center. Though the transition appears to have been a technical success, the new digital signals mays never reach some of the 20,000 Hawaiians who rely on analog service.
Congress may soon help the 1.76 million consumers anxiously waiting for their $40 digital TV converter coupons. According to Congress Daily, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is drafting legislation to push back the February 17 digital television transition deadline as requested last week by both Consumers Union and the incoming Obama Administration.
There has been some demand among readers for a flowchart that explains how you will be affected by the digital TV switch that will happen this February. Your wish is our command.
The WSJ says that the FCC has sent letters of inquiry to 11 cable companies asking why their customers are paying the same amount each month, even as the companies move channels to digital cable.
We know you’re too smart to fall for this ridiculously fraudulent digital TV converter offer, but maybe you know someone who’s not wise to the facts of the upcoming switch to digital TV—specifically that converter boxes cost less than $100, and that you can get a government coupon to offset $40 of that cost. Universal TechTronics—the same scam outfit behind those “Amish” Heat Surge miracle fireplaces—is now conning the less knowledegable with their “free” converter box offer: pay nothing but a warranty and shipping, bringing the total cost to anywhere between $68 and $97. The Los Angeles Times says this is “the first large-scale [converter box] scam the Better Business Bureau has seen.”
The Senate Commerce Committee issued a bold press release aggressively backing FCC Commissioner Michael Copps’ contention that the nation is woefully unprepared for the pending transition to digital television. The release is a stunning rebuke to the FCC and the Commerce Department, which have dickered over responsibility for the ongoing transition. The Committee plans to hold a hearing on February 14 to find out just what content should, under ideal circumstances, go here. Full release, after the jump.
The federal government continues to bungle the transition to digital television, this time by making it difficult for consumers to redeem subsidy coupons for DTV converter boxes.