Because so many people needed to buy a DTV converter box, the U.S. government initiated a $40 coupon program to help ease the financial burden that consumer's might feel as a result of the digital TV mandate.
Converter Box Coupon Program
In an effort to curb the financial impact on analog TV households, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce developed a converter box coupon program that allowed analog TV households to request two $40 coupons towards the purchase of a digital-to-analog converter box.
Coupon Program Basics
The coupon program totaled $990 million with a continuation fund of $510 million (if necessary) for OTA users only. It was funded with additional funding in 2009. Here are the basics of the program:
- Coupons valued at $40 each
- Only two coupons can be requested per household
- Only one coupon can be used per converter box purchase
- Coupons are tracked electronically
- Coupons expire within 90 days
The program now allows people with expired coupons to reapply until the program's deadline in July 2009.
The application procedure is pretty easy. You can apply online, over the phone, by fax, or snail mail. An application must include:
- Your name
- Number of coupons
- Confirmation that you use an over-the-air analog signal
- Confirmation that no other household member is applying for the coupons
Once approved, the applications will arrive to your location via the United States Postal Service. The coupons are actually gift cards that can be used only on specific products. You redeem the coupons where converter boxes are sold.