Free Analog to Digital TV Converter Coupons

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stan_der_man

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Here's something interesting I just discovered...

As many of you know (or will soon find out...) television stations in the U.S. are going to be converting to digital transmissions as of Feburary 2009. Your old analog televisions will no longer work. Here is a link to a federally sponsored program where you can get $40 coupons towards purchasing a converter box (analog to digital) for your older televisions.

https://www.dtv2009.gov/

These converter boxes are generally going for $50 at Walmart, so with this coupon you can get one for about $10. You are allowed to apply for two coupons.

A penny saved is a penny earned, every bit helps!
 

rainyday

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We need to buy our boxes by the beginning of July. The coupons are only good for 90 days after you get them and time's almost up for us. I need to do some research first on what kind to buy though.

Have you purchased the Walmart ones, Stan, and are you happy with them? I read something about making sure you get one that will switch automatically between UHF channels and digital ones, but other than that I don't know what to look for yet.
 

stan_der_man

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We need to buy our boxes by the beginning of July. The coupons are only good for 90 days after you get them and time's almost up for us. I need to do some research first on what kind to buy though.

Have you purchased the Walmart ones, Stan, and are you happy with them? I read something about making sure you get one that will switch automatically between UHF channels and digital ones, but other than that I don't know what to look for yet.

I was checking my old threads and saw that I left your question unanswered Rainy, my apologies!

I have purchased a few of the converter boxes and found that the Walmart ones were the cheapest, but they blew off the shelves so quickly I wasn't able to get one. I purchased one from Target instead which was only a few dollars more. What I found out is that most of the converter boxes don't through-put existing analog television transmissions, so if you want to still watch the old format, you have to disconnect the box and reconnect your antenna directly into the tv when doing so. The converter boxes they sell at Radio Shack are a few dollars more expensive but they automatically through-put all RF signals (analog, direct from the antenna...) But once the television transmissions go to strictly digital this will be a moot issue anyway.

The one disturbing thing I discovered when hooking my mom's television up to a converter box is that one of the things about the conversion from to analog to digital is that with digital, only UHF frequencies will be used. My mother used to get decent reception with her regular analog television on both VHF and UHF, but with her living in eastern Los Angeles County and the L.A. stations being on Mt. Wilson, she is in a bit of a shadow from the local foothills. This was OK with VHF, which for those don't know... VHF is a lower frequency (larger wave length...) so it bends around mountains and buildings better than UHF with is a higher frequency (smaller wave lengths...) and is more line of sight. The UHF channels at her house were always a bit crackly, but nothing too annoying. With digital your signal is all or nothing for the most part. A weak signal with digital is extremely annoying... pixelation and delayed sound commonly occurs. This happened at my mothers house with her favorite channel (Her favorite Channel 7 and the Nitwitness News :rolleyes:) and a couple of the other channels which had marginal signals. I discovered that I will need to put an antenna on her roof to get the channels she was able to get with an analog television. The important thing to know is that you only need to get a UHF antenna... there will no longer be VHF if this conversion does in fact finalize in February. For many people in the US who only receive a few channels this may mean you will get nothing via the airwaves, and will have to subscribe to cable. And, more than likely... Not only will you need to get a converter box for your television, or make the purchase of a digital television... you may very well need to purchase an amplified set of rabbit ear antennas for your television (whether with box or if you have a digital tv...) to get decent reception. If the rabbit ears don't hack it, you may have to put an antenna up on your roof (or out your apartment window...) Be careful in purchasing an antenna, quite frankly many of the expensive "amplified mini antennas" for apartments are junk. A television antenna shouldn't cost more than $50 to $70. Anything over $100 is probably an ill conceived gimmick.

Just a heads up. February is just around the corner. This will affect all Americans who still receive their television through an antenna.
 

stan_der_man

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i'm using this list from consumer reports as a starting point. i've found that models i'm interested in are harder to find and/or have gone up in price. not sure what to make of that.

Very good link Mejix! My gut feeling about these converter boxes is that they are going to become short in supply (especially the good ones... or there will be price gauging because of short supply...) once the television transmissions do actually convert over to digital and people realize their old analog TVs absolutely won't work with digital. I would get one now before this happens... For all practical purposes, these converter boxes are just a stop-gap measure to convert existing analog TVs and won't be on the market for all that long because the assumption is that people will eventually start purchasing digital televisions. And seriously... your old analog televisions will be useless unless you can receive Canadian or Mexican television transmissions. The one interesting thing I discovered about the new flat screen televisions is that it basically costs just as much to build a small LCD tv as it does to build a larger LCD tv (I'm assuming it is the same for plasma...) That is why you don't see as many less expensive small LCD televisions out there. Come to think about it... I don' think I've ever seen a small plasma television. The cost is all in the labour. The sales on small LCD televisions you occasionally see are going to be few and far between. Any decent LCD television is going to cost around $250 - $300 no matter what size. The days of quality, smaller televisions (approx. 17" or smaller) costing $99 are over for the time being, until this new technology matures... unless the manufacturers go back to selling digital CRT (picture tube...) televisions which I have yet to see.
 

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