Glitches in the DTV Switchover


The big switch from analog to digital TV is only a few months away, and consumers are having a hard time getting their hands on converter boxes. Consumers have been told throughout the DTV campaign that one household was eligible for two $40 coupons, and so far, it's estimated that 8.5 million households have requested 16 million coupons, yet only 3 million have been redeemed so far.

One of the problems consumers are facing are expiring coupons. There are over 1,819 retailers participating in this program but some seem to have a hard time keeping converter boxes in stock. By the time boxes are available, the 90-day coupons have expired, and consumers are left with nothing since they can't reapply for new coupons at this time.

Lawmakers are urging the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to extend the deadlines on expired coupons or issue new ones, but nothing is certain because of the lack of funds to support such a program.

At a hearing this week the NTIA's associate director, Bernadette McGuire-Rivera told lawmakers that the agency "would have to get more money, basically to buy more stamps to send out coupons" but then issued a statement, according to Reuters, saying the agency "has no plans to ask Congress for any additional funds."

Hmmmm. Sounds like those extra coupons will never be mailed out.

U.S. could face glitch in TV converter box program (Reuters)

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