For the estimated 14.3 million households still getting their TV via antenna, there’s hope: The federal government yesterday began handing out $40 coupons to help buy converters ahead of the 2009 digital cutoff, the AP reports. The problem, Congress says, is that few know about the $1.5 billion coupon program—or the digital upgrade it’s supposed to facilitate.
Starting Feb. 18, 2009, old-style antenna TVs won’t get a picture, thanks to a Congressionally ordered shift to digital broadcasting. Roughly 13% of Americans still rely on free, over-the-air broadcasts, and they'll need a $50-$70 adapter. The feds will pay $40 of that if they ask—but with no solid plan to spread the word, few know they can. (Read more digital television stories.)