February 8, 2009

February 8, 2009
Switch to DTV Changed to June 12, 2009

Welcome to another day in my life. I hope you are having a safe and great weekend like I have been.

While our weather is not back to the usual temperatures here in north Florida, it has been a little warmer today and back in the high 60s. Hopefully we have seen the last of freezing temperatures for the year.

But since it has been so cold, I know most of my friends have been staying home and watching more television. And anyone who watches television regularly has seen the commercials about the switch to digital television.

Beginning on February 17 and continuing through June 12, 2009, television stations will stop sending out program signals on their analog channels.

If you already have a digital TV or if you have cable or satellite service you most likely donít need to do anything.

If you do not have a digital TV or cable/satellite service, do not wait until the last minute to make the switch to digital TV. Apply now for the money saving converter box coupons because they are available on a first come, first served basis through March 31, 2009. There is currently a waiting list for the coupons. It will take a couple of weeks for your application to be processed.

As soon as you get your coupon, purchase the converter box because the coupon expires within 90 days after it is sent to you. Once you get the converter box, attach it right a way so you can try out how the box works before your TV goes dark.

AARP has a phone line to help answer your questions about the transition to digital TV. Call toll-free, 1-877-698-8068, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, to ask questions and receive technical assistance about setting up converter boxes and antennae. The call center will be operational through March 31, 2009. AARP is one of 12 organizations chosen by the Federal Communications Commission to help viewers prepare for the DTV transition.

The change to DTV will mean a better quality television picture and more channel options. Check with your cable or satellite service provider to see if and when they will be providing any new equipment.

If you have an older set and use rabbit ears or an outside antenna, your TV will not work after June 12 unless you:

* Get a special converter box that will make your analog set work
* Subscribe to a cable, satellite or other pay service for all the sets in your home
* Or buy a new TV that receives digital signals

Buying a New Television
All newly manufactured TVs must include digital tuners. But any analog sets still in inventory may be sold. The TV on super sale may be marked down because it wonít work next year.

Getting a Converter Box To offset the cost of a converter box, you can receive up to two $40 coupons per household. These will not cover the entire cost of a converter box, but the coupons will offset most of the cost.

You can apply for the coupon online.

Or call to request the coupon (s):
1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009)
TTY English 1-877-302-2634
TTY Spanish 1-866-495-1161

You can also download a paper form, fill it out and return to:
TV Converter Box Coupon
P.O. Box 2000
Portland, Ore. 97208

or fax your form to 1-877-DTV- 4ME2.

Residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities can now apply to receive one $40 government coupon toward the purchase of a TV converter box. Post office box holders can apply for two converter box coupons, but must provide their home address.

You can purchase the converter box from a retailer such as Best Buy, Circuit City, Radio Shack, or Wal-Mart. You can easily find the store nearest you. Call ahead to make sure a coupon eligible box is in stock.

This box that sits on top of your TV changes digital signals coming over the air from the television station to analog format that your set can use. Keep in mind that every analog set in your house, unless it is connected to cable or satellite, will need a converter box. If you already use a roof top or rabbit ears antenna, the same antenna should work with the converter box. If you are having trouble getting things hooked up, you can reference this troubleshooting guide.

So check and make sure you will not be left in the dark after the switch.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

Big bear hug,

Daddy Dab