US households to get coupons for digital TV switch
Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

The US Department of Commerce on has unveiled its plan to help subsidize the switchover from analogue to digital TV in 2009. In the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) plan, each household can claim two $40 coupons that can be used toward the purchase of a set-top converter so the digital broadcasts can be viewed on analogue TVs.

Under the NTIA plan, every household would be eligible for the coupons until slightly less than $1 billion is spent. If that doesn’t go far enough, another $500,000 could be released but limited to only those people who depend on an antenna to get their TV. There are about 73 million TVs in America, though many of them are hooked up to cable, or satellite TV service. About 15% of the TV-watching population depends on an antenna for its service.

Government officials hope that enough consumers will either decide to buy TVs that can automatically receive the digital signals or switch to digital cable or satellite TV to ease demand for the boxes.

Analogue signals are scheduled to cease on 19 February, 2009.

(Source: Reuters)