13 March 2007

Transitiion to Digital TV

With the conversion to digital television slated for 17 February 2009, more serious attention is being paid to the problem of stranded consumers (who wish to keep their analog sets for whatever reason and wish to continue relying on over the air broadcasting). The US Department of Commerce announced this policy yesterday to address those people:
Starting Jan. 1, 2008, all U.S. households will be eligible to request up to two $40 coupons to be used toward the purchase of up to two, digital-to-analog converter boxes, while the initial $990 million allocated for the program is available.

If the initial funds are used up, the Act permits funding to increase by $510 million, upon certification to Congress that the initial allocated amount is insufficient to fulfill coupon requests. If the additional funds are needed, eligibility for those coupons will be limited exclusively to over-the-air-only television households. Consumers requesting coupons from these contingent funds must self-certify to NTIA that they do not subscribe to cable, satellite or other pay television services. This program is structured to monitor demand to help ensure that over-the-air reliant households will not lose total access to television broadcasts after the Feb. 17, 2009, transition date.

How does this compare to Berlin's experience from a few years back?

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