DTV Transition Updates


Today, US households that had received digital television (DTV) converter box coupons but had let them expire can now apply for new ones from the TV Converter Box Coupon Program. Previously, if a household had received a coupon and hadn't redeemed it before the coupon's 90 day expiration date, it was ineligible to receive another.

The recent US stimulus package added $650 million to the coupon program, which had run out of money in early January. Each US household is eligible to receive two converter box coupons.

According to program stats as of the 18th of March, 54,207,255 converter box coupons have been requested, 51,297,543 have been mailed out, 25,748,265 have been redeemed, 17,030,750 have expired, and 8,518,528 are still active.

For those interested, USAToday has an interesting article today as well on the converter box program, on how it came into being and how it has experienced some hiccups.

In a report in Media Week, "Just 1.2% of homes will be unprepared for the digital TV transition come June 12, according to Nielsen. Thatâ''s down from the 4.4% of homes that would have been unready for the switch, had the transition date not been moved back from Feb. 17."

One reason Nielsen, the worldâ''s leading marketing and media information company, gives for the rapid decline is that the change over of many stations from analog to DTV in February forced "homes that lost reception to take action."

More homes will soon have to take action if they haven't done so already.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) another 158 stations will be making the switch to DTV before the 12th of June date. Broadcasters had that option if they couldn't or wouldn't by the FCC be allowed to make the conversion in February as planned.

The 158 broadcast stations who plan an early transition can be found here. Those 927 who still plan to wait until 12 June can be found here.

Spectrum would still like to hear about your experiences on the changeover. Go here and join the crowd.


Risk Factor

IEEE Spectrum's risk analysis blog, featuring daily news, updates and analysis on computing and IT projects, software and systems failures, successes and innovations, security threats, and more.

Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City