According to the latest Nielsen numbers, only 1.1% of the U.S. homes with televisions remain totally unprepared for the end of analog broadcasts by the full-power stations in this country that happened last June. That tiny fraction still translates into more than 1 million households, but it’s a major improvement over where we stood at the start of the year.
And now it’s time for the Feds to roll up their rebate coupon program. If you haven’t done so already, you have until Friday, July 31, 2009 to request up to two coupons: each will take $40 off the purchase price of approved converter boxes. Once again, these converters won’t turn your old television into an HDTV, but they will allow you to receive the digital broadcast signals (and you can watch them on your old TV whether they are HD or standard definition). You can apply at www.dtv2009.gov.
The U.S. government has mailed more than 63 million coupons, but 25 million of those were not used before they expired after 90 days, and 33.6 million — just slightly more than half — have been redeemed. There is little doubt that many of the people who requested the coupons already have cable or satellite service, and thus do not need a converter box, which could explain the large number of expired unused coupons. 4.4 million coupons still remain active. While this is many times more than the number of “totally unprepared” households, keep in mind that many U.S. homes routinely have two or three televisions, some of which may not be connected to the cable or satellite service. These do require a converter box in order to continue to receive over-the-air broadcasts.
So if you’re one of those homes that has not yet obtained a converter box for a TV that is not connected to a cable or satellite service, this is your last chance to get one of these discount coupons. The clock is ticking….