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Press Release of Senator Cantwell

As State Readies for Digital TV Transition 'Soft Test,' Cantwell Urges Washingtonians to Be Prepared

Reminds Consumers With Analog TVs to Obtain and Redeem Coupons for TV Converter Box

Friday, December 12,2008

WASHINGTON, DC –  As Washington state prepares to complete the switchover from analog to digital television broadcasting, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) urged all TV viewers with analog televisions who currently rely on antennas (indoor or roof-top) to receive a picture to make sure they’re prepared. On February 18, 2009, all full-power television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100 percent digital broadcasting. Consumers using indoor or roof-top antennas will need to obtain separate digital-to-analog converter boxes to continue watching free over-the-air programming.
On December 17, 2008, broadcasters across Washington State will conduct a 'soft test' of the upcoming digital television transition by shutting-off of their analog transmissions at various times during the day to further educate their viewers about who needs to take action to continue viewing broadcast TV when the deadline arrives on February 18th. During the 'soft tests', consumers who cannot receive a broadcast picture on their analog televisions will be directed to call a number to find out what they need to do to prepare.
“Next week, Washington state will start a series of tests to ensure the February 17, 2009 transition from analog to digital broadcasting goes as smoothly as possible,” said Cantwell. “This is a great reminder to all Washingtonians currently utilizing indoor or roof-top antennas to obtain a convertor box so they can continue to enjoy over-the-air broadcast television when the transition is complete.” 
Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program for households wishing to keep using their analog sets after February 17, 2009 to receive broadcast TV. The Coupon Program allows U.S. households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, which can be redeemed toward the cost of eligible converter boxes. The coupons are redeemable for eligible converter boxes sold at participating consumer electronics retailers. A list of local retailers selling converter boxes is printed on each coupon. The coupons must be used at the time of purchase, and expires 90 days after mailing. Cable and satellite TV subscribers watching on analog TVs will still be able to watch on those same television sets on February 18, 2009, but should contact their provider to find out if there may be some change to their service.
Between now, and March 31, 2009, coupon requests can be made while funding is available in four ways:
  1. Apply online at www.dtv2009.gov
  2. Call the Coupon Program 24-hour hotline 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009), TTY 1-877-530-2634
  3. Mail a coupon application to: PO BOX 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000
  4. Fax a coupon application to 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632)