The Digital Television Transition: No Time to Waste

The DTV Delay Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama means you may have more time to prepare for the digital television transition, but the time to act is now.

While some local stations transitioned to all digital broadcasting in February, by June 12, 2009, all remaining full-power television stations will stop analog broadcasts. If all of your TV sets are connected to cable, satellite or another pay service, or if all of your TVs are digital, you are ready. However, if you have an older, analog television with ?rabbit ears? or a rooftop antenna, you have three options:
  • Connect to cable, satellite or other pay service.
  • Purchase a digital television.
  • Buy a TV converter box.

Make sure at least one TV in your house is ready before the transition. If you choose to buy a converter box to keep your television working, here is what you should know.

? Purchase a TV converter box with or without a government coupon. All U.S. households are eligible to receive up to two $40 coupons to help pay for the cost of certified TV converter boxes. Coupons are available on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last, so apply immediately. To apply for coupons, visit, call 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009), mail to PO Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208 or fax 1-877-388-4632. Deaf or hard of hearing callers may dial 1-877-530-2634 (TTY English) or 1-866-459-1161 (TTY Spanish).

? Use your coupon as soon as you receive it. Your coupons will be sent to your home via first class mail. Coupons expire 90 days after they are mailed. Consumers whose coupons expired without being redeemed will be able to apply for replacement coupons beginning this spring, but only while supplies last.

? Know all of your options for redeeming a coupon. A list of local retailers will come with your coupons. Telephone and online retailers are also available. A full list of retailers can be found at

? Connect your TV converter box as soon as you get it. You can watch digital television on most channels today. Immediately connect your converter box to your analog TV so that you have time to troubleshoot any technical issues, such as repositioning your antenna to fix reception problems, or scanning (or re-scanning) for digital channels in your area.

? Check in on your friends and family. If you are already prepared, have you made sure that your friends, family and neighbors are also ready? You can help them apply for a coupon, find a converter box and follow the installation instructions.

For general information about the DTV transition, visit or call 1-888-CALL-FCC (voice) or 1-888-TELL-FCC (TTY).