7% Not Ready for Digital TV Switch

With switch due Feb. 17, estimated 7% aren't prepared; feds' coupon program shaky
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Dec 22, 2008 8:59 AM CST
One of the most thoughtful gifts of the holiday season may be to help a friend, family member or someone in need make the transition to digital TV ahead of the February switch.   (PRNewsFoto)
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(Newser) – With US television’s transition from analog to digital broadcasting less than two months away, officials are worried that consumers still don’t have the signal-converter box, the Wall Street Journal reports. An estimated 7% aren’t prepared, and Congress, which authorized $1.34 billion for coupons to help consumers pay for the boxes, is worried that amount might not be enough.

The switch to digital is set for Feb. 17. Some 20 million homes that receive free, over-the-air signals will need converter boxes—which cost between $40 and $60—as will 15 million more who have digital cable or satellite service but use a spare TV. Almost 17 million coupons—worth $40—already have been issued.