We hear the same exhortation everywhere: cut the cable! Save money! Ditch your cable company and live free! But if you had cable TV during the great DTV switch back in 2009, you probably didn’t think to send away for any government-subsidized converter boxes. If you’ve recently dropped your cable subscription out of rage or frugality, what are your options? Karen wants to know, and hopes that Consumerist readers have some ideas.
I am typing this post with a digital TV antenna stuck in my ear, and all because nobody told me that this wasn’t the right way to install it. Ow! Apparently Antennas Direct of Missouri knows that there are people like me out there, because they’ve included some very specific warnings on their installation instructions (PDF). (Thanks to Billy!)
Last week NPR tore into TV networks for failing to live up to the promises it made to Congress in the late 1990s when the industry pushed to receive its slice of the digital spectrum for free.
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.
Matthew emailed us with an interesting link to a Meritline offer that he says is making the rounds on deal sites. The Airlink digital-to-analog converter box is a fairly generic offer, but Meritline is offering a free HDMI cable with it. The only problem is, there’s no place on the box to use the cable. If you just see “free HDMI cable” and don’t read the specs closely, you’ll be in for a rotten surprise when the box arrives. But hey, free cable.
Maybe it was the hooch, or maybe it was the fact that he was missing his TMZ, but a 70-year-old man in Missouri was arrested yesterday for unlawful use of a firearm after he shot up his TV. According to Minneapolis/St. Paul news station KARE11, he “was angry that he had lost his cable, and was unable to get his new DTV converter to work properly.” According to his wife, he had been drinking.
Tim tried to use a Digital TV coupon at a Philadelphia Radio Shack and was told that he had to provide his name and address in order to redeem it, as per government regulations. Strike out “government” and replace with “imaginary” and you’re closer to the truth. Hmm, did this Radio Shack employee just break the law?
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 $40 digital TV converter coupons. According to Congress Daily, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is drafting legislation to push back the February 17 digital television transition deadline as requested last week by both Consumers Union and the incoming Obama Administration.
Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports and, um, brand-spanking-new owner of Consumerist, the blog that you are reading right now, is asking Congress to delay the DTV switch until “until a plan is in place to minimize the number of consumers who will lose TV signals, particularly by fixing the flaws in the federal coupon program.” Why are they doing this? Well, the coupon program has already run out of money. Read the letter inside.
There has been some demand among readers for a flowchart that explains how you will be affected by the digital TV switch that will happen this February. Your wish is our command.
You know, the coming switch to digital TV isn’t exactly rocket science, but we’re betting plenty of people are still going to end up feeling confused and angry come February of next year.
…the five FCC Commissioners and other Commission staff will fan out to [selected] markets to raise awareness and educate consumers.
The way coupons are taxed is different in every state— and believe us — it gets really complicated. The general rule, in most (but not all) states is that consumers are taxed on the full amount of the transaction — including any reimbursement that the store gets.
Howdy there partner, are you one of them DTV Deputies? No? The FCC thinks it’s high time you take the transition to digital television into your own hands. Because why pay for test trials in select communities when you can use early-90’s sound effects and cutting edge graphics to bait consumers into studying for a 13-question quiz?
Consumer Reports tells us that according to a survey they commissioned, consumers have absolutely no f@#$@%$ clue what the heck is going on with the digital TV conversion.