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A message from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:41 pm    Post subject: A message from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
From Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:00 am to Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:59 am (included)
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As you may know, on February 18, 2009, most consumers who use televisions with antennas ("bunny ears") will lose access to almost all TV broadcasts. If you rely on antennas for your TV reception, you may have to act prior to February 18th to continue to get TV service. Please read the information below to learn whether you will be impacted, and what you need to do to make sure you can continue to access TV next year.

What is the Digital Television (DTV) Transition?

The DTV transition requires that on February 18, 2009 almost all over-the-air television broadcasts will become digital only. While many TVs are equipped to receive digital signals, some TVs - especially older TVs with antennas - are not. As a result, "bunny ears" TVs that do not include a digital tuner will require a separate converter box to receive and display the digital signals. (To find out if your "bunny ears" TV is digital-capable, you can look for markings on the TV itself or check the paperwork, including the manual, that came with the TV when you purchased it.)

What is the purpose of the DTV Transition?

The purpose of the DTV transition is largely to "free up" space on the broadcast spectrum for public safety communications and commercial wireless services. Space on the spectrum for commercial wireless services will be auctioned off and revenue from the auctions will be used to help lower the federal deficit and improve public safety communications.

Does This Affect Me?

If you have a "bunny ears" TV with no digital tuner and receive your TV for free via over-the-air broadcasts, you will be affected unless you take certain steps between now and February 2009. (See "What Do I Need To Do?" below).


If you have an older TV with no digital tuner, but subscribe to CABLE, SATELLITE SERVICE (such as Echostar, DirecTV or DISH) or receive programming through your phone company, you will most likely not be affected by the switch as most companies will transmit digital programming to their subscribers regardless of the TV you use or will provide you with a set-top box for your TV that will allow it to display the digital signal. BUT you should verify that your provider will help you handle the transition.

If you have a newer model television that has a digital tuner, or is capable of receiving digital broadcasts, you will not be impacted by the switch.

What Do I Need To Do?

If you have a "bunny ears" TV with no digital tuner and currently receive TV for free via over-the-air broadcasts, you have three options, any one of which will ensure that you can continue to receive TV after February 17, 2009:

1) Purchase a digital-capable TV. Any TV manufactured after March 1, 2007 is required to be digital-capable. Any TV on sale that is not digital-capable (likely from the retailer's pre-existing inventory) has to be marked with a disclosure stating, "This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner."

2) Subscribe to a cable, satellite or telephone company TV service and contact your provider to determine how they will help their subscribers to make the transition.

3) Purchase a digital-to-analog converter box to hook up to your "bunny ears" TV. This converter box will allow you to receive the digital broadcast signal. Digital-to-analog converter boxes should be available at area retail stores at a cost of $40 - $70. If you choose to purchase a converter box, your household will likely be eligible to receive up to two $40 coupons from the federal government to help defray the costs of your purchase(s). The coupons - which will be available until March 31, 2009 - may only be used to purchase coupon-eligible converter boxes from certified retailers. Information regarding approved converter boxes and certified retailers will be made available with the coupons. Coupons will also come with instructions for how they can be installed on your TV. Please note that coupons must be used within three months of being issued or else they will expire.

How Do I Request A Coupon?

If you choose to purchase a converter box and would like up to two $40 coupons to help with this purchase, you will need to request a coupon. The following are a number of different ways in which you can submit your coupon request:

oApply online at https://www.dtv2009.gov/

oCall the Coupon Program's 24-hour hotline at 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009).

oDownload a coupon application and mail it to: PO Box 2000, Portland, OR, 97208-2000.

oDownload a coupon application and fax it to: 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632)

oConsumers who are deaf or hard of hearing may call 1-877-530-2634 (English/TTY) or 1-866-495-1161 (Spanish/TTY). TTY service is available from 9 AM - 9 PM Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

Coupon applications can be downloaded at: https://www.dtv2009.gov/docs/Coupon_Program_App_en.pdf

For more information on the Transition:

oVisit www.dtv2009.gov or www.dtv.gov

oCall toll-free 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009)

oEmail the NTIA by going to https://www.dtv2009.gov/EmailUs.aspx

oWrite to TV Converter Box Coupon Program, PO Box 2000, Portland, OR, 97208-2000. (Please do not forget to include your name, return mailing address, and the nature of your inquiry).



Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
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