DTV Transition Presentation

DTV conversion box coupon program logoI did a presentation today at a local senior center on the digital television transition.

At this point, most people are aware of the transition and what they need to do. The residents I met were all aware of the low-cost converter boxes, as well as the discount coupon program.

What I was surprised to find was the number of reported difficulties these people had getting their coupons. They were given excuses, such as they were ineligible because they had cable. Or their request was placed but the coupons never arrived.

(By the way, if you subscribe to a service such as cable you are eligible to participate in the discount coupon program. You will, however, be limited to a single coupon. Households without a subscription service can request two.)

Early on in the program, the "single family residence" requirement was being interpreted in a way that ruled out people living in group situations, such as senior centers, and I wonder if this facility fell into that situation.

That bogus policy has since been corrected. As the FAQs at note:

On April 24, 2008, NTIA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and Request for Comment in the Federal Register that proposes to waive the “eligible household” and application requirements in section 47 C.F.R. § 301.3(e) for individuals residing in nursing homes or other senior care facilities, subject to alternative application requirements. The Agency is working expeditiously to complete this rulemaking.

The other thing that was common to all the people reporting problems is that they tried to request coupons by phone. I urged them to use the web site instead. That seems to do a better job of getting them in the system, will verify your request right then and there, and will return a request code and expected ship date. It seems a lot more reliable.

One resident, who had reported previous problems, tried again using the web site, and reported it worked without problem.

I have some slidees that I prepared a couple months back that I carry around to these events. Although more often than not they get put aside and we just chat about the transition. Still, there is some useful information in there, so I thought I'd post it. It's attached below.

20081219-dtv-presentation.pdf596.02 KB