Sunday, December 21, 2008

Commerce's NTIA Urges Georgia Consumers to Apply for TV Converter Box Coupons by December 31

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced more than 231,700 over-the-air households in Georgia, those that rely on an antenna for broadcast TV, have requested coupons from the TV Converter Box Coupon Program. With two months until the nation's full-power TV stations transition to 100 percent digital broadcasting, the agency is urging consumers who rely on over-the-air television and need a TV converter box coupon to apply by the end of the year.

"There may be two months until the digital television transition concludes, but consumers who want to buy a TV converter box with a coupon should apply for it in the next two weeks or possibly risk losing use of their analog TV temporarily," said Acting NTIA Administrator Meredith Baker. "It takes approximately six weeks to apply for the coupon, buy the box and try it out so it is imperative that consumers take action by December 31 or look at other options to make the transition prior to February 17, 2009."

Below are the percentages of coupons requested by over-the-air households for each DMA in Georgia.

DMA % OTA Households Who Requested Coupons
(Data as of December 14, 2008)
Albany, GA 82%
Atlanta, GA 86%
Augusta, GA 101%
Columbus, GA 89%
Macon, GA 84%
Savannah, GA 77%
Tallahassee (FL) -Thomasville (GA) 71%

For a complete listing of the markets and their participation rates by "over-the-air" TV household, go online at and for more information about the Coupon Program, go to


The Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 requires full-power television stations to cease analog broadcasts and switch to digital after February 17, 2009. The Act authorized NTIA to create the TV Converter Box Coupon Program, which is funded by the $19 billion airwaves auction and not tax dollars. The Act funded the Program at $1.5 billion, including $1.34 billion for coupons. Currently, NTIA has obligated $1.1 billion in coupons. This obligation is a combination of coupons redeemed as well as coupons that have been ordered.

Digital broadcast television offers consumers a clearer picture, more programming choices and will free up the airwaves for better communications among emergency first responders and new telecommunications services.

Consumers receiving free, over-the-air television on analog TV sets will need to act now to ensure their televisions continue to work when full power television stations go all-digital. Viewers of over-the-air television need to look at each analog set in their home that is not connected to cable, satellite or other pay television service and make a timely decision. They can connect their television to cable, satellite or pay television service; they can replace it with a digital TV; or they may keep it working with a TV converter box.

For consumers choosing the converter box option, the TV Converter Box Coupon Program permits all households to request up to two coupons - each worth $40 - toward the purchase of certified converter boxes. Coupons may be requested while supplies last, and only one coupon can be used to purchase each coupon-eligible converter box. Consumers can purchase a converter box at one of the more than 34,500 participating local, phone or online retailers. Consumers will receive a list of eligible converter boxes and participating retailers with their coupons. Coupon applications can take several weeks to process and mail so consumers opting to purchase a converter box should act now, and should call stores before shopping to ensure the desired converter box is available. Converter boxes generally cost between $40 and $80, and coupons expire 90 days from the date they are mailed.

Consumers who choose to transition to digital television by purchasing a TV converter box with a coupon need to follow three steps and act by the end of the year because the process may take six weeks. Consumers should immediately apply for their coupons, buy a converter box when the coupons arrive and try the box with their television to address any potential technical issues before full-power broadcasters switch to digital.

Some viewers watch programs over translators or other low-power stations which may continue broadcasting analog signals after February 17, 2009. Those viewers may wish to select a converter box that will pass through analog signals.

Households may apply now for coupons online at, by phone at 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009), via fax at 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632) or by mail to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000. Deaf or hard of hearing callers may dial 1-877-530-2634 (English TTY) or 1-866-495-1161 (Spanish TTY). Nursing home residents may apply with the paper application available downloadable at

For more information about the Coupon Program, please visit and for questions about the DTV transition, go to or call 1-888-CALL-FCC.

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