- Special Sections
- Public Notices
PERRY COUNTY – With a Feb. 17 digital-switch deadline looming over American households, Congress voted Wednesday to delay the switch.
The measure will give consumers until June 12 to purchase digital-to-analog converters for analog televisions or to subscribe to satellite or cable television. According to a www.cnn.com article, an estimated 6.5 million homes would lose TV service after the initial deadline.
The News reported Dec. 15, that the switch has been in the works to free up parts of the broadcast spectrum to be used for police and fire departments, emergency rescue, advanced wireless services and other services.
But while the public has four more months to get ready, a government program providing $40 coupons to help buy converters ran out of money recently.
According to program officials, "The TV Converter Box Coupon Program has reached its funding ceiling. However, coupon requests from eligible households will be filled as funds from expiring coupons become available. If you would like to apply for a coupon today and are eligible, you will be placed on a waiting list and will receive coupons on a first-come-first-served basis as funds from expiring coupons become available.
Coupons will expire within 90 days of the date they are mailed."
It's reported that more than 3 million people are on the waiting list, according to a press release from the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Available at www.ntia.doc. gov/press/2009/dtv_delay_ 090205.htm, it explains NTIA Administrator Anna Gomez said if they receive "additional budget authority" for the coupon program, the first priority will be to provide coupons for those on the waiting list.
The Federal Communications Commission urges the public to hook up the converters after receiving them and to check their connections. According to a trouble-shooting guide at www.fcc.gov/cgb/ consumerfacts/troubleshootguide.html, the FCC says if there are problems seeing a picture after checking connections, performing a channel scan and adjusting the antenna, people might want to check with TV stations to see if they are operating at reduced power levels.
Also "when an analog TV signal is weak or receives interference, static, snow and distortion will often appear on the screen. Digital broadcasting will provide a clear picture; however, if the signal falls below a certain minimum strength, the picture can disappear. This 'cliff effect' means that if you watch analog TV stations that have static and distortion, you may have to adjust or upgrade your antenna system."
The FCC also recommends using outdoor instead of indoor antennas.
Households may apply for coupons online at www. dtv2009.gov, by phone at (888) 388-2009, via fax at (877) 388-4632) or by mail to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000.
Nursing-home residents may apply with paper applications available at www.dtv2009.gov.