FYI: Digital TV deadline is Friday

SANDUSKY It's almost as important to Americans as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness &
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

It’s almost as important to Americans as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — the right to watch television.

For “old school” viewers who still use antennas rather than satellite or cable, it’s time to stop procrastinating.

The revised deadline for TV stations to switch from analog to digital signal broadcasts is Friday. The deadline won’t affect cable customers.

But viewers who get their programs on antennas will need to finally heed months of warnings to get a digital signal converter box.

Angela Hoskins, an office manager at ABC Warehouse in Perkins Township, said by midday Wednesday, four customers had come in to buy TV converters.

Most came armed with a $40 government coupon, which covers the cost of the converter, if not the sales tax.

“It’s mostly older people, but we do have some younger people,” she said.

There’s still time to obtain the $40 coupons, said officials with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

The group organized a national telephone conference call for journalists Wednesday to discuss last-minute efforts to aid TV viewers. It said many people who need help tend to be minorities, low-income residents, immigrants who speak little English or seniors citizens.

The officials said those who neglected to obtain the $40 coupons still have until July 31 to obtain them. Each household can ask for up to two coupons. The coupons are transferable, so families can share. Getting a converter box is not the only option for consumers. They can also upgrade to cable television or satellite TV, or buy a new TV set.

As of March 1, 2007, all new TV sets sold in the United States are required to have a digital tuner.

In some cases, people who alreadyhaveanantennamayneed a more effective one.