On Friday, July 31, when the clock chimes midnight, the DTV coupon program will no longer accept new applications, so act fast if you haven’t already asked Uncle Sam to kick in $40 toward the purchase of a digital converter box.
Applications sent via snail mail must be postmarked no later than July 31, 2009, and online, phone, and fax applications must be made by 12 midnight Eastern Time. You should expect your coupon (one or two per household) via first-class mail about nine business days after your application is received. You’ll then have 90 days to use the coupon before it expires.
To order a coupon, you can call the toll-free, 24-hour automated system 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009). You can download an application and mail it to PO BOX 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000, or fax it to 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632). Remember, you have to do it within the next 24 hours or so.
Many coupons have not yet been used. As of July 29, 63,797,521 had been mailed, and only slightly more than half (33,775,023) had been redeemed.
We’ve been covering the DTV transition and the coupon program for well over a year, and there’s been lots of lively discussion amongst our blog readers about the pros and cons of digital television. There hasn’t been much public outcry over the “death of analog TV,” so it hasn’t been quite as apocalyptic as some feared (does it remind anyone else of Y2K?), though individual households have voiced their gripes. Check out a few of these threads to see what other consumers have experienced.
We’d love to hear more from those of you using a converter box and antenna to pull in DTV signals. And anyone preparing to embark on a new DTV setup—maybe for that small TV in the basement or bedroom—should definitely seek advice from those who’ve gone before you.—Eileen McCooey